Episode
December 5, 2017

Is France ‘sick with sexism’?

Government's plan to tackle sexism with legislation sparks debate.
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French President Emmanuel Macron caused a stir last week by saying that France was a society "sick with sexism". He then announced that, as part of a broad campaign against sexual harassment and assault, his government may make "gender-based insults" a crime.

Macron's comments followed a slew of sexual harassment and assault allegations against high-profile men, including renowned Islamic studies scholar Tariq Ramadan and Christophe Arend, who is an MP for Macron's Republic on the Move (LREM) party.

"France must no longer be one of those countries where women are afraid," Macron said. A recent survey found that more than half of French women have been victims of sexual harassment or assault.

Macron chose the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women to make his statement and lay out his plans. While many are cheering his proposals, some critics are calling them a form of censorship.

Journalist Naomi Firsht believes it will "stymie public interaction between men and women" and has questioned its implementation. "Who will decide what constitutes an insult? Does a wolf-whistle count? What if a woman enjoys the attention but a bystander decides to report it to the police?" Firsht has said.

So, can such legislation put an end to harassment and assault? We discuss in this episode of The Stream.

On this episode of The Stream, we'll speak to: 

Anne-Cecile Mailfer @AnneCMailfert 
President, Fondation des Femmes
fondationdesfemmes.org

Fatima El Ouasdi @FatiElo 
President and founder, Politiq'ELLES
politiquelles.org

Rim-Sarah Alouane @RimSarah
PhD candidate in comparative law, University of Toulouse Capitole
rimsarah.com

Lorraine Questiaux @coldroitsfemmes
Lawyer, CNDF
collectifdroitsdesfemmes.org

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. 

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