The newly appointed French gender equality minister, Marlène Schiappa, has called for fines to be introduced for those who commit sexual harassment.
The minister believes that by giving the police the power to slap perpetrators with an on-the-spot fine, it will help combat sexual harassment.
The fine, which Schiappa argues should be a substantial amount of €5,000, would help to deter the “huge phenomenon” of sexual harassment in France.
Speaking to The Guardian, Schiappa said, “It’s that moment when a man is walking behind a woman, talking to her, and the woman can do nothing, because she is alone.”
“She doesn’t scream for help, because she thinks, ‘It’s not that bad, I’ll walk, I’ll escape.’”
“Men feel it’s acceptable: they’re being ‘the French lover’.”
“It’s that moment when a man is walking behind a woman, talking to her, and the woman can do nothing, because she’s alone.”
“Twenty euros would be a bit humiliating, €5,000 would be more of a deterrent.”
“At the moment, many men are saying, ‘It’s not a big deal, we’re only having fun.’ And we say, ‘No.’”
Schiappa has been serving as the Secretary of State in charge of Equality between Women and Men since 17 May 2017. She was appointed by France’s new president Emmanuel Macron, who has made clear his stance on women’s equality.
In May, it was announced that half of Macron’s parliamentary election candidates were women. Macron’s party, La Republique En Marche (Republic on the Move), also announced that 52 per cent of the candidates also came from outside the political circle.
More recently, a record number of women were elected into the French parliament. Of the 577 newly elected members of parliament, 223 were female. Female representation now stands at 38.65 per cent in the National Assembly.