French women may not get fat but do they get equal?

The  Sunday Times recently reported (17 October 2010) that a World Economic Forum put France in 46th place behind countries such as Kazahkstan and Uganda for its overall treatment of women.  The same survey put France in joint first position for women’s education and health but near the bottom – 127th – for male versus female pay for the same work.  French women are paid 17% less than men in the same jobs.  “Sexism is extraordinarily entrenched in French society,” said Laurence Parisot, president of Medef, the employers’ forum.  “It’s so serious, so profound and has such ancient roots that laws are not enough.  Our culture has to change.”

Rachida Dati, Sarkozy’s “little Arab girl” who rose to be justice minister in the French cabinet  returned to work five days after giving birth to a baby girl whose paternity remains a closely guarded secret because she feared she’d get dropped from the goverment.  She got called a traitor to her sex for returning to work so early and got dropped from the government anyway.

Valerie Toranian, editor in chief of Elle magazine said French women are “exhausted.”  They have the right “to do what men do” but only if “we also take care of the children, cook a delicious dinner and look immaculate.  We have to be superwoman.”

That’s not my definition of Superwoman Valerie; that’s my definition of a door mat.   A Superwoman is one who after a day’s work  says beans on toast for tea is just fine and couldn’t give a stuff about manicures and pedicures because she’s too busy chatting with her kids about the day or going out to meet friends or having a glass of wine with her husband.   Life’s far too short to be immaculate.  Delicious dinners are lovely but any sort of dinner will do and husbands are very capable of delivering either type.  Superwoman doesn’t exist but feeling super does.  And time saved not cooking delicious dinners and looking immaculate will mean more energy to fight the gender pay gap and stick two fingers up at entrenched sexism.

PS: French women consume more anti depressants than any other females in Europe.  Perhaps French women don’t get fat because they’re just too miserable to eat?

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