France

 In May 2012, a Ministry for Women’s Rights was created in France.[1] On 23 July 2014, France adopted the first law that addresses gender equality in the workplace, tackling stereotypes in the media, an improved protection from domestic violence, a reform on parental leave, and measures ensuring parity in politics. [2]

France is governed by the provisions of the French Civil Code. However, both in Mayotte and the partly autonomous overseas territorial units in the Pacific (French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna), two personal statuses coexist: the same law status as in France, and a local or common law status (customary law).[3]

[1] Ministère des Droits des Femmes (n.d.) [2] Loi pour l’égalité réelle entre les femmes et les hommes, http://femmes.gouv.fr/le-parlement-a-definitivement-adopte-le-projet-de-loi-pour-legalite-reelle-entre-les-femmes-et-les-hommes/ [3] CEDAW (2006)

DISCRIMINATORY FAMILY CODE: 

In France, the minimum legal age to marry for both men and women is 18.[4] However, it is possible to get married before 18 for exceptional reasons and with the agreement of one of the parents and of the Prosecutor. Prior to 2006, the minimum age was 15 for women and 18 for men.[5] A Prosecutor can contest a marriage if there is suspicion that it is a forced marriage.[6] In France’s partly autonomous overseas territorial units, marriage practices also fall under local customary laws, which coexist with the French Civil Code. In Mayotte, the 2006 law only applies to women under common French law. Women depending on the local or customary law are under the jurisdiction of a 2000 law, which allows 15-year old girls to marry a man 18 years and over under exceptional circumstances.[7]

The Civil Code grants both the mother and father joint parental authority over their children during and after marriage. [8]In the case of divorce, both parents continue to share parental authority over their children.[9] In the interest of the child, a judge can decide to give parental authority to one of the parents or to another family member.[10]

Women and men enjoy equal rights to inheritance, including the legal right to execute or administer wills.[11] Articles 544 and 711 of property rights stipulate that property is acquired and passed on through inheritance, by donation or testaments and by obligation effect.[12]In Mayotte, the 2003 Finance Act for Overseas Territories eliminated certain discriminatory aspects of the existing laws in relation to inheritance rights for daughters.[13]

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The Civil Code does not discriminate against women in terms of divorce rights. Both women and men have the same right to initiate divorce.[14] A 2004 Act aimed to simplify and update divorce procedures regulared by a 1975 Act: these include divorce by mutual consent which involves only one mandatory appearance before a judge; the obligation to provide financial support ends with divorce, however the “victim” spouse may obtain a compensatory pecuniary provision and be granted damages. [15]  In Mayotte, the Divorce Act of 26 May 2004 supplemented the Finance Act for overseas of 21 July 2003 by making ordinary law procedures applicable to divorces of people with local law civil status.[16] It also eliminated the right to unilateral repudiation without an official divorce procedure.[17]

[5] Legifrance (n.d.), LOI n° 2006-399 du 4 avril 2006 renforçant la prévention et la répression des violences au sein du couple ou commises contre les mineurs [6] CEDAW (2006), p. 19 [7] Senat (n.d.), Départementalisation de Mayotte : sortir de l'ambiguïté, faire face aux responsabilités [8] Legifrance, Code Civil, article 371-1 [9] Article 372, Civil Code [10] Article 375-3, Civil Code [11] Article 724, Civil Code [12] FAO, (n.d), Gender and Land Rights Database [13] CEDAW (2006). [14] Legifrance, Code Civil [15] CEDAW (2006). [16] CEDAW (2006). [17] CEDAW (2006), p. 19 

 

RESTRICTED PHYSICAL INTEGRITY: 

There are new measures on gender-based violence that were adopted as part of the 2014 law on gender equality.[18]The 2014-2016 National Plan to tackle violence against women covers various forms of violence, including domestic violence, sexual violence and female genital mutilation.[19] A 2013 study on violence against women in France states that women are three times more likely than men to be victims of sexual violence (respectively 1.3% and 0.5%).

In 2010, a new law was enacted that specifically addresses domestic violence.[20] The definition includes psychological as well as physical violence. Article 31 of the law specifies punishment for perpetrators of violence on their spouse or partner, which can range from three years of imprisonment and a fine of 45000 euros (when the victim is physically incapacitated and/or may not be able to return to work for up to 8 days following the violence) to five years of imprisonment and a fine of 75000 euros when the physical damage stops the victim from working for more than 8 days.[21]The Divorce Act of 26 May 2004 established the eviction of a violent spouse from the conjugal home.[22] Building on previous national plans to combat domestic violence, including awareness-raising and sensitization of institutional stakeholders, France introduced “le Téléphone Grand Danger”, through which female victims of violence can call and get help in less than 10 minutes. The system works through a regulation platform that evaluates the danger and then alerts the relevant services.[23] A 2010 violence against women survey found that on average, a woman was killed every 2.5 days and a man is killed every 13 days due to domestic violence.[24]

The Penal Code criminalises rape and perpetrators are punished by 15 years in prison.[25] A 2006 Law recognises spousal rape and removes the presumption that spouses have consented to sexual acts within the intimacy of married life. [26]

Sexual harassment is addressed in a specific law of 2012. Under the law, punishment for perpetrators was increased for perpetrators to two years of imprisonment with a maximum fine of 30 000 euros. In the case that the sexual harassment was carried out against a minor, or more vulnerable persons (illness, disability, pregnancy), the punishment can be extended to three years of imprisonment and a fine of 45 000 euros.[27] Any act of discrimination linked to sexual harassment is punishable by one year of imprisonment and a fine of 3 750 euros.[28]

There is no law on female genital mutilation in France although it can be punished under the Penal Code. [29] Punishment can range from 10 to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of 150 000 euros. A 2006 law allows for the prosecution of female genital mutilation committed abroad and obliges medical professionals to report it, making it an exception to medical confidentiality.

France was the first European country to pursue trials for perpetrators of female genital mutilation.[30]Between 1979 and 2004, a total of 29 FGM court cases were brought before criminal courts.[31] It is very difficult to estimate the number of women who have undergone FGM in France, especially as it concerns migrant communities and that the practice is carried out overseas. 2004 estimates suggest that 53 000 adult women (18 years old and over) in France had undergone FGM.[32]Threat or risk of FGM can be a cause for claiming asylum and international protection in France. [33]

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Abortion has been legal in France since the 1975 “Veil Law”. Article L.2212-1 of the Public Health Code (Code de la santé publique) allows a woman to terminate her pregnancy during the first 12 weeks of her pregnancy.[34] In 2014, the condition that a woman must be in “condition of distress” was removed from the Law.

In 2005, 73% of women aged 15 to 54 years old were using contraception methods and more than one out of 10 women (13,7%) already using the morning after pill as an emergency procedure. In 2006 there were 14.5 voluntary pregnancy terminations for 1000 women, which at the time represented one of the highest levels for Western Europe. The 2008 finance law of social security of from 19 December 2007 has authorised health centres to terminate pregnancies on demand.[35] Since 2012, under 15-years olds have free access to contraceptives are free or partially covered by health insurance; abortion-related costs are completely covered.

 

 [18] Haut Conseil à l’ëgalité entre les Femmes et les Hommes (2013) [19] Ministère des Droits des Femmes (2013), 4e plan interministériel de prévention et de lutte contre les violences faites aux femmes [20] Law No. 2010-769 [21] The UN secretary-General’s database on violence against women (2010), Loi N. 2010-769 relative aux violences spécifiquement aux  femmes,  aux violences au sein des couples et ux incidences de ces dernières sur les enfants [22] The UN secretary-General’s database on violence against women, loi n°2004-439 du 26 mai 2004 relative au divorce (2004) [23] Ministère des droits des femmes (n.d.), « Le Téléphone Grand Danger sur l’ensemble du territoire national » [24] Étude Nationale sur les Morts Violentes au sein du Couple (2010) [25] Penal Code, articles 222-23 [26]Loi n.2006-399 du 4 avril 2006 renforçant la prévention et la répression des violences au sein du couple ou commises contre les mineurs [27] Stop Harcèlement Sexuel [28] Loi relative au harcèlement sexuel (2012), [29] Conseil supérieur de l’information sexuelle, de la régulation des naissances et de l’éducation familiale (CSIS), Rapport du groupe de travail n°1 portant sur La prévention des violences faites aux femmes, spécifiquement des mutilations sexuelles, p. 9 [30] Andro, A. et Lesclingand, M. (2007), « Les mutilations sexuelles féminines : le point sur la situation   en Afrique et en France » [31] EIGE (2013), Current situation of female genital mutilation in France [32] Étude de L'institut National d'études Démographiques (Ined) Intitulée "Exh: Excision Et HandiCAP" (2009), p.12[33] EIGE (n.d.), 2010 OFPRA Annual Activity Report (Maxime Forest), http://eige.europa.eu/content/ofpra-rapport-dactivit%C3%A9-2010 [accessed 26/06/2014] [34] Code de la santé publique, Article L2212-1   [35] Member state questionnaires for 15th anniversary of Beijing Platform for Action 

 

SON BIAS: 

No evidence was found to suggest that son bias or missing women are relevant in France. For 2013-2014, the male/female sex ratio for the working age population (15-64) in France was 1.0 while the sex ratio at birth was 1.05. In French Polynesia, the sex ratio for the total population and at birth was identical, at 1.05.  In Wallis and Futuna, the sex ratio for the total population was 1.02 and the sex ratio at birth was 1.05.[36]there is no evidence to suggest that France is a country of concern for missing women.

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Gross enrolment ratios at both the primary and secondary levels are approximately equal. According to a 2014 report by UNICEF, gross primary school enrolment ratios were 99% at the primary level and 101% at the secondary level.[37] 

[36] CIA (2013) [37] UNICEF (2014), p. 73

 

RESTRICTED RESOURCES AND ASSETS: 

No evidence of discrimination against women with respect to access to and ownership of land was found in the law or in practice.

Article 225 of the Civil Code allows for both spouses to administer their personal assets and property and does not discriminate against women.[38]

Women and men share equal rights and access to financial services. Both married and unmarried women can open bank accounts in the same way as men.[39] In France in 2011, 97.49% of men and 96.57% of women aged 15 years or older hold bank accounts at a formal financial institution.[40]

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Since 1989, the Fonds de garantie pour la création, la reprise, le développement d’entreprise à l’initiative des femmes (FGIF)  facilitates women’s access to credit for entrepreneurial projects.In 2010-2011, women created 28% of the enterprises in France .[41] There are reports that women entrepreneurs face strong direct and indirect discrimination, especially in agricultural areas, leading to difficulties in accessing financing.[42] The Ministry of Agriculture adopted a national programme co-financed by the European Social Fund for 2000-2006 called “Women, training and employment in rural areas: integration of equality of opportunity” with the aim to apply in practice gender equality of opportunity (Circulaire of the 18 July 2001)[43]

[38] FAO Gender and Land rights Database, (Cadre juridique national) [39] Code Civil, article 221 [40] World Bank (2011) [41] Ministère des droits des femmes (2014) Chiffres Clés : Emploi et Précarité, [42] Céline Laisney (2012) [43] FAO Gender and Land rights Database 

RESTRICTED CIVIL LIBERTIES: 

No restrictions could be found as to women’s access to public space and freedom of movement. The Law does not discriminate in choice of residence and the Constitution guarantees all citizens freedoms of assembly and association.[44]

There are legislated quotas for women at the national and sub-national level. [45]In 2013, women represent 26.9% of parliamentarians in the National Assembly.[46]  The 6 June 2000 law imposes parity rules for political elections and the 31 January 2007 law ensures parity at the regional and local levels, but female representation is still very low, especially at local level and in overseas territorial units.[47]In April 2014, there were 47.1% of women ministers in April 2014.[48] At local decision-making levels, women represent 17.1% of the mayors in towns of less than 1000 inhabitants, compared to 16% nationally. However, women are less represented in municipal councils of towns of less than 1000 inhabitants, since there are no legislative restrictive parity measures at that level.[49]

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Women constitute nearly half of France’s media workforce. Women’s representation is highest in the junior and senior level professional categories, where they are approaching parity with men. Women also have a fairly strong representation in middle management, which includes senior editors, correspondents with some degree of decision-making responsibilities. However, the glass ceiling for French women journalists is at middle management, as women’s presence sharply declines at this level.[50] Recent studies indicate that women represent only a quarter of the senior/expert commentators in the media, and are twice more likely to be represented as victims than men.[51]

By law, French women are allowed 16 weeks of maternity leave, which increases to 26 weeks for the third child. Women and men are both entitled to three years of unpaid parental leave to care for children. Publicly supported childcare centres are open 11 hours a day, 11 months a year.[52]

Women continue to undertake the majority of domestic work: in 2010, women spend on average 4 hours per day on domestic tasks, which represents 1h45 more than men.[53]

[44] Assemblée Nationale (n.d), Constitution Nationale de 1958 [45] The Quota Project (2013) Global Database of Quotas for Women [database] [46] OECD (2014), Gender, Institutions and Development Database, http://stats.oecd.org [47] FAO Gender and Land rights Database [48] HCEfh, 9 avril 2014. : http://www.haut-conseil-egalite.gouv.fr/parite/reperes-statistiques-47 [49] Données 2014, MI. et Guide de la Parité du HCEfh [50] IWMF (2011) Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media. International Women’s Media Foundation, Washington, D.C. [51] Enquête GMMP 2010 [52] IWMF (2011) [53] Ministère des Droits des Femmes (2013)

SOURCES: 

 Andro, A. et Lesclingand, M. (2007), « Les mutilations sexuelles féminines : le point sur la situation   en Afrique et en France », Institut National d’Études Démographiques, Num;ero 438, Octobre 2007,

Assemblée Nationale (n.d), Constitution Nationale de 1958, http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/connaissance/constitution.asp

CEDAW (2006) Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Fourth Periodic Report of States Parties: France. CEDAW/C/FRA/6 Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, New York.  (http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N06/304/02/PDF/N0630402.pdf?OpenElement)

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) (2013a) The World Factbook: Sex Ratio, Washington, DC: CIA, online edition (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2018.html

Commission Nationale Consultative des Droits de l’Homme (2013), Avis sur les mutilations sexuelles féminines, http://www.cncdh.fr/sites/default/files/13.11.28_avis_sur_les_mutilations_sexuelles_feminines.pdf

Conseil supérieur de l’information sexuelle, de la régulation des naissances et de l’éducation familiale (CSIS), Rapport du groupe de travail n°1 portant sur La prévention des violences faites aux femmes, spécifiquement des mutilations sexuelles, http://sgdatabase.unwomen.org/uploads/Rapport%20sur%20FGM%20-%20Janvier%202011.pdf

Direction de la recherche, des études, de l'évaluation et des statistiques (Drees) (2013), Études et Résultats, Les interruptions volontaires de grossesse en 2011,http://www.drees.sante.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/er843.pdf

FAO (n.d.), Gender and Land rights Database, http://www.fao.org/gender/landrights

French Civil Code http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichCode.do;jsessionid=61C359B42EC35EEAD74367DC542937F4.tpdjo14v_1?cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006070721&dateTexte=20140402

French Ministry for Women, http://femmes.gouv.fr/dossiers/egalite-professionnelle/entrepreneuriat-des-femmes/le-fgif-un-dispositif-pour-favoriser-lacces-au-credit-bancaire/INSEE (2013), Femmes et hommes face à la violence, Les femmes sont plus souvent victimes d’un proche ou de leur conjoint, http://www.insee.fr/fr/ffc/ipweb/ip1473/ip1473.pdf

French Penal Code http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichCode.do;jsessionid=AD898A305277BF59B8BC4C46F945BD62.tpdjo13v_1?cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006070719&dateTexte=20140402

French Public Health Code http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichCode.do;jsessionid=9EBB0F3C566DD8AB3449D8B50E5B3103.tpdjo15v_2?idSectionTA=LEGISCTA000006171542&cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006072665&dateTexte=20140409

Haut Conseil à l’égalité entre les Femmes et les Hommes (2013), 60 Recommandations pour une politique d’égalité entre les femmes et les hommes cohérente et ambitieuse, http://www.haut-conseil-egalite.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/60_recommandations_projet_de_loi_pour_l_egalite_entre_les_femmes_et_les_hommes-2.pdf, pp.31-46

IWMF (2011) Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media. International Women’s Media Foundation, Washington, D.C. http://iwmf.org/pdfs/IWMF-Global-Report-Summary.pdf

Laisney, C.  (2012) – « Les femmes dans le monde agricole », Centre d’études et de prospective, No. 38, March 2012 : http://agriculture.gouv.fr/Analyse-no38-mars-2012-Les-femmes 

LOI n° 2006-399 du 4 avril 2006 renforçant la prévention et la répression des violences au sein du couple ou commises contre les mineurs, http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000000422042&dateTexte=&categorieLien=id

LOI n° 2008-496 du 27 mai 2008 portant diverses dispositions d'adaptation au droit communautaire dans le domaine de la lutte contre les discriminations, http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000018877783

Member state questionnaires for 15th anniversary of Beijing Platform for Action: http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/Gender/documents/Beijing+15/France.pdf

Ministère des Droits des Femmes (2013), 4e plan interministériel de prévention et de lutte contre les violences faites aux femmes, http://femmes.gouv.fr/decouvrez-les-principales-mesures-du-plan-de-lutte-contre-les-violences-faites-aux-femmes/

Ministère des Droits des Femmes (2013), Projet de loi pour l’égalité entre les femmes et les hommes, Dossier de Presse, http://www.gouvernement.fr/sites/default/files/fichiers_joints/dossier_de_presse_-_projet_de_loi_pour_legalite_entre_les_femmes_et_les_hommes.pdf

Ministère des droits des femmes (n.d.), « Le Téléphone Grand Danger sur l’ensemble du territoire national », http://femmes.gouv.fr/le-telephone-grand-danger-sur-lensemble-du-territoire-national/

Ministère des Droits des Femmes (n.d.), http://femmes.gouv.fr/

OECD (2013), Government at a Glance, Country Fact Sheet: France, http://www.oecd.org/gov/GAAG2013_CFS_FRA.pdf (p.3)

Portail du Gouvernement Français (2013), Égalité entre les femmes et les hommes, projet de loi, http://www.gouvernement.fr/gouvernement/egalite-entre-les-femmes-et-les-hommes-0

Senat (n.d.), Départementalisation de Mayotte : sortir de l'ambiguïté, faire face aux responsabilités, http://www.senat.fr/rap/r08-115/r08-11532.html

Stop Harcèlement Sexuel (n.d.), http://www.stop-harcelement-sexuel.gouv.fr

The Quota Project (2013) Global Database of Quotas for Women [database] www.quotaproject.org/ (accessed 5 July 2013)

The UN Secretary-General’s database on violence against women (2010), Loi N. 2010-769 relative aux violences spécifiquement aux femmes, aux violences au sein des couples et ux incidences de ces dernières sur les enfants, http://sgdatabase.unwomen.org/searchDetail.action?measureId=47263&baseHREF=country&baseHREFId=521

The UN Secretary-General’s database on violence against women (n.d.), Plan Interministériel De Lutte Contre Les Violences Faites Aux Femmes (2011-2013), http://sgdatabase.unwomen.org/searchDetail.action?measureId=47437&baseHREF=country&baseHREFId=521

The UN Secretary-General’s database on violence against women (n.d.), Loi n.2006-399 du 4 avril 2006 renforçant la prévention et la répression des violences au sein du couple ou commises contre les mineurs , http://sgdatabase.unwomen.org/searchDetail.action?measureId=10276&baseHREF=country&baseHREFId=521

The UN Secretary-General’s database on violence against women (n.d.), Étude Nationale sur les Morts Violentes au sein du Couple (2010), http://sgdatabase.unwomen.org/searchDetail.action?measureId=53863&baseHREF=country&baseHREFId=521

The UN Secretary-General’s database on violence against women (n.d.), Étude de L'institut National d'études Démographiques (Ined) Intitulée "Exh: Excision Et HandiCAP" (2009), p.12, http://sgdatabase.unwomen.org/searchDetail.action?measureId=47710&baseHREF=country&baseHREFId=521

The UN Secretary-General’s database on violence against women, Loi n°2004-439 du 26 mai 2004 relative au divorce (2004), http://sgdatabase.unwomen.org/searchDetail.action?measureId=30805&baseHREF=country&baseHREFId=521

The UN Secretary-General’s database on violence against women, Loi relative au harcèlement sexuel (2012), http://sgdatabase.unwomen.org/searchDetail.action?measureId=55033&baseHREF=country&baseHREFId=521

The World Bank (2011), Financial Inclusion Data (France), http://datatopics.worldbank.org/financialinclusion/country/france

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) (2014), The State of the World’s Children, Every Child Counts: Revealing disparities, advancing children’s rights, New York.

Data
DISCRIM. FAM. CODE VALUE 2014: 
0.1002
DISCRIM. FAM. CODE CATEGORY 2014: 
Low
Legal Age of Marriage: 
0.5
Early Marriage: 
0.01
Parental Authority During Marriage: 
0
Parental Authority After Divorce: 
0
Inheritance Rights For Widows: 
0
Inheritance Rights For Daughters: 
0
Data
REST. PHYS. INTEGRITY VALUE 2014: 
0
REST. PHYS. INTEGRITY CATEGORY 2014: 
Very Low
Attitudes Towards Violence Against Women: 
0.07
Prevalence Of Domestic Violence: 
0.26
Laws Addressing Domestic Violence: 
0
Laws Addressing Rape: 
0
Laws Addressing Sexual Harassment: 
0
Female Genital Mutilation: 
0
Reproductive Autonomy: 
0.02
Data
SON BIAS VALUE 2014: 
0.0828
SON BIAS CATEGORY 2014: 
Low
Missing Women: 
0
Fertility Preferences: 
0.51
Data
REST. RESOURCES & ASSETS VALUE 2014: 
0
REST. RESOURCES & ASSETS CATEGORY 2014: 
Very Low
Secure Access To Land: 
0
Secure Access To Non-Land Assets: 
0
Access To Financial Services: 
0
Data
REST. CIVIL LIBERTIES VALUE 2014: 
0
REST. CIVIL LIBERTIES CATEGORY 2014: 
Very Low
Access To Public Space: 
0
Political Quotas: 
0
Political Participation: 
0.27