Under fire

Hollande accused of sexism for “family, children and women’s rights” department

(ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)

French Prime Minister Francois Hollande has come under fire for creating a “family, children and women’s rights” department in the reshuffling of his cabinet. Many perceive his grouping of women’s rights with the more domestic issues of “family and children” as sexist or “retrograde,” with feminist activists Femen France mocking the decision by responding: “Hey guys, you forgot cooking and cleaning.”

The head of France’s high council for gender equality, Danielle Bousquet, also slammed the move, and asked for a clarification and reiteration of the government’s commitment to women’s rights. “Is this not locking women into a stereotyped role that has been assigned to them for centuries: that of wife and mother?” she asked in a statement. The head of the new department, Laurence Rossignol, a leading feminist within the Socialist Party, was forced to defend the decision and affirm that she would lead her ministry with a modern vision on family and women.  “But I think the threat hanging over women is not the fact that they’re referred back to the home sphere, it’s that we don’t take into account the fact that once at home, responsibilities are unequal, whether a woman is alone or with a partner,” she told French newspaper Courrier Picard. The whole controversy is embarrassing for Hollande, who promised he would be a champion of gender equality when elected four years ago, but has been criticized for failing to deliver on this promise.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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