London, Dec. 1: France is all set to make sweeping changes to its sexual equality laws, in order to ensure equal rights for men and women, a minister has announced.
The proposals will include “ABC of gender equality” lessons for children as young as six, the threat of imposing compulsory equal pay for men and women in the same jobs and tougher laws on domestic violence, reports the Telegraph.
“This will become the third generation of equality legislation after women were given the right to vote in 1944 and abortion was legalised in 1975,” said France’s women’s rights minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem.
New draft laws outlined will allow the courts to accelerate restraining orders and trials for violent male partners and provide females considered under threat of violence with free emergency mobile phones to alert police.
Employers will be inspected to ensure men and women receive equal pay, and could be forced by law to raise a women’s salary or lower a man’s to ensure fairness in large companies.
According to Vallaud-Belkacem, the aim was to “deconstruct stereotypes” deeply ingrained in French society.
France boasts of being the guardian of human rights. But the country currently languishes in 57th place in the World Economic Forum’s 2012 gender equality report – well behind Britain, Venezuela and the Kyrgiz Republic. It ranks almost last overall on the wage equality index – 129th out of 135 countries.
Latest studies suggest that women earn 27 per cent less than men for the same type of job, one in three women has only part-time work and their pensions are 40 per cent below that of men. (ANI)