Parity in France: from employment to political representativeness
While French women have a higher educational attainment than men, they are less active in the labour market. Sixty-two percent of men aged 15+ hold jobs or are seeking work, versus only 51% of women. Women’s unemployment rate still exceeds that of men, at 8.5% versus 7.4%, and a higher proportion work part-time. The more children they have, or they younger they are, the more women scale back their occupational activity, through partial participation or by withdrawing from the labour market altogether. Gender wage gaps are only partly due to employees’ characteristics (such as education and length of service) or to their jobs (economic activity sector). However, male and female labour-market statuses have been converging since the 1980s, with a rise in the female participation rate and a steeper fall in female unemployment. In the political sphere, gender parity is making progress, but the most visible advances are in elections where parity is legally mandated, such as municipal elections in towns of more than 3,500 inhabitants and elections to the European Parliament.