PARIS, FRANCE– In an attempt to avoid casual discrimination, ministers in France’s new Socialist government are taking anti-sexism courses with presentations on stereotyping and innapropriate language, and tips on avoiding social faux pas.
According to NBC News, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, head of the newly recreated Women’s Rights Ministry and also the government’s official spokeswoman, is the mastermind behind these new one-hour courses. The courses also cover wage disparity and domestic violence.
The anti-sexism courses are meant as a way to weed out casual sexism in politics in a nation that has a tradition of ignoring female subordinates by the men in power.
“The ministers have loved it,” a government source told Reuters of the course. “They’re coming up with ideas on where and how they can put it into practice.”
They may love the courses, but wolf-whistles inside parliament at a female minister in the new government increases concerns that even more coaching is necessary.
In one of their sessions, which was broadcast on French television, Social Economy Minister Benoit Hamon was shown analyzing stereotypes found in a recruitment advert for male and female drivers.
“Thanks to you this man can go to the football or a restaurant whenever he wants. … Thanks to you this woman can pick up her children straight after work,” the poster reads.
So far, a dozen ministers have attended the courses, including Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici, and 26 more have signed up.
“For those already aware of the issues, it’s good to hear them again. For those who aren’t, it’s especially useful,” a source close to Moscovici, a former ally of Strauss-Kahn, told Reuters.