Parité in Politics

From a Radical Idea to Consensual Reform
  • Mariette Sineau


“Hemiplegic,” “one-legged”—the metaphors are not lacking to qualify the French version of democracy and the monopolization of political power by males. In the spring of 2002, France still ranks next-to-last among the countries of the European Union in terms of percentages of women elected to the lower house (10.9 percent). If France seems inept, most notably compared to Scandinavian countries, at feminizing its political establishment, it owes this to certain historical burdens. The Salic law, which under the monarchy prohibited women from succeeding to the throne of France, was resumed by the Revolutionaries of 1789. As a consequence, political equality among all citizens has adapted itself to the exclusion of women from all political rights. This sidelining of women would last more than a century and a half until the ordinance of April 21, 1944, made women full-fledged citizens. To the weight of these historical factors are added institutional checks. For example, certain characteristics of the Fifth Republic (such as a uninominal voting system for the election of deputies, the widespread practice of multiple elected posts, and so on) blocked the entry of women into the electoral or parliamentary scene.


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Copyright information

© Roger Célestin, Eliane DalMolin, Isabelle de Courtivron 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mariette Sineau

There are no affiliations available

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