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France: The Republic Tested by Parity


To what extent do parity laws in France express the myth of the French exception ? In 2000, France was the first country to adopt mandatory legislation making it a legal requirement for political parties to nominate the same number of women and men as candidates on election lists. French women only obtained the right to vote and to be elected in 1944, and the proportion of male Chairpersons of City Council still stood at 84% in 2018. To understand the specific nature of the French case, this chapter will begin by discussing the influence of the French republican inheritance on the exclusion of women from politics. It shall then examine how the French so-called Parity Laws are an answer to global preoccupations with the under-representation of women in positions of power, taking the national path dependency into account. Finally, It will show how the French implementation of gender-based quotas in politics and economics embodies or goes beyond the assertion according to which “gender-based quotas are in a way a simplistic answer to a highly complex problem, that of changing women’s historical representation. Gender quotas do not break all aspects of male dominance” (Dahlerup, Leyenaar, 2013, 249).

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hal-02403967 , version 1 (11-12-2019)



Réjane Sénac. France: The Republic Tested by Parity. Susan Franceschet; Mona Lena Krook. The Palgrave Handbook of Women’s Political Rights, Palgrave Macmillan, pp.467 - 481, 2019, 9781137590732. ⟨10.1057/978-1-137-59074-9_32⟩. ⟨hal-02403967⟩
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