Women Win 63 Seats in France’s Parliament

France’s traditional term for a politician, “homme politique”, which translates to political man, no longer describes the members of the National Assembly. The country’s May 25 and June 1 election results brought 63 women to France’s Parliament. Before the elections, France ranked last among the fifteen countries in the European Union in its percentage of female lawmakers. The country’s proportion of women in the National Assembly nearly doubled to 10.9%, allowing France to climb one spot to the fourteenth position among EU countries, with Greece now occupying the last position. This victory for women in part resulted from Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin’s decision in 1996 to set aside 30% of his party’s candidacies for women. Continuing his quest for women’s rights, Jospin announced in his first speech to Parliament on June 18 that he would lobby to ensure women’s constitutional equality. According to Marisol Touraine, one of the newly-elected women to France’s Parliament, “ƒthe election of women in legislative elections, plus women ministers in important posts, it’s something that’s here for good.”


The L.A. Times- June 20, 1997

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