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French Senate to Consider Sex Parity Amendment

France’s Senate will soon consider a constitutional amendment that would “favor equal access by men and women” to elected office.

Constitutional scholar Guy Carcassonne has reported that the vaguely-worded amendment would most likely result in the passage of laws which would limit the percentage of a party’s male or female candidates to 60 or 70% or deny federal funds to parties that do not act to redress pervasive gender imbalances.

Advocates argue that the amendment is long overdue in a country where women represent 56.9% of the work force, but only 10.6% of the country’s legislative seats. Critics of the amendment charge that it would force the creation of strict quotas that are incompatible with French republican ideals.

Sources:

Washington Post - March 2, 1999]