In a bizarre turn of events, Paris City Council has been fined €90,000 (£82k) for appointing too many women into senior management positions.
The French capital’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, brought in 11 women to fill 16 top city jobs, inspired, in part, by a 2012 law aimed at correcting gender imbalances. However, it appeared she corrected gender imbalances a little too much, being fined under another law which requires that no more than 60 per cent of one gender be appointed to top civil service positions in any given year.
Although the law was amended in 2019 – to ensure no fines would be given for disproportionate hiring if the overall gender balance was respected – Hidalgo did her hiring in 2018, meaning she wasn’t exempt from being reprimanded.
“Far too feminist,” Hidalgo joked, adding: “Today I am going to rejoice that we have been sentenced to a fine. It is with joy, shared with many others, that I learned last week that the city of Paris had to pay a €90,000 fine.”
She did, however, acknowledge the absurdity of the situation, and said it offered a chance to address systemic problems that persist in civil service jobs across the country. As reported by The New York Times, since Hidalgo’s election in 2014 – the first woman to lead Paris’ government – women now hold 47 per cent of senior management positions.
“We must promote women with determination and vigor because the gap, everywhere in France, is still very big. And so, yes, to promote and one day reach gender equality, we must pick up the pace and ensure that more women are appointed than men,” declared Hidalgo.
Amélie de Montchalin, head of the ministry which delivered the fine, said: “I want the fine paid by Paris for 2018 to fund concrete actions to promote women civil servants.” She also said “the cause of women deserves better”, and stressed that the law had been changed in 2019.