An appraisal of the application of provisions promoting professional equality between women and men

Type of text :
Type of referral :
Own initiative
Working group :
Delegation for women’s rights and equal opportunity
Date d'adoption
Date adopted : 02/28/2012
Rapporteur(s) :
Qualified Individuals Group
Maryse DUMAS
CGT Trade Union Group

    For over fisty years, the principle of equality of treatment between women and men has been established in international and European law. On a national scale, this is incorporated into the Constitution, and 9 acts have helped make professional and salary equality a major issue in collective negotiation.
    The Delegation’s appraisal shows some advances and blocking points. Resistance is due to inconsistencies of public policies (such as the promotion of part time work disadvantageous to women), a lack of involvement of social partners but also numerous cultural and societal blocking hurdles which help maintain gender inequalities in the workplace.
    The study reports the slow progress of collective negotiations linked, firstly, to the absence of a proper diagnostic: almost 30 years after it was established by law, over half of companies have not yet carried out a Comparative Status Report (CSR). Just 13% of industry-wide agreements and 9% of company agreements concluded in 2010 cover professional equality, setting as objectives: the mix of jobs and recruitment, the promotion of more women managers, the work life balance ,or the reduction of salary discrepancies.
    The study focuses on the contributing causes to inequality of treatment of women and men: sexist stereotypes conveyed by advertising, the media or textbooks have an impact on girls’ career choice and contribute to the persistent segregation of business fields and trades. The best qualified remain under represented in decision making bodies (14% of directors in the top 500 French companies, 21% in civil service management positions), while discrimination is worse for the less qualified: part time work (82% female), underemployment and low salaries. Furthermore, the unequal distribution of familial responsibilities acts as a break on the careers of mothers. All these causes contribute to the persistence of the salary gap between women and men: 19% for full time workers, 23% for executives.