The French Parity Law: A Successful Gender Equality Measure or a “Conservative Revolution”?

  • Catherine Achin


A large number of countries in the world have implemented policies designed to advance the political representation of women. Sixteen years after the “parity law” was passed in France, the present article evaluates its mixed effects on the process of political professionalisation and on gender relations. Based on several surveys conducted between 2001 and 2016 at different institutional levels, the article traces the genesis of the law and outlines certain French paradoxes concerning gender and political issues. It then provides a quantitative review of the impact of the law in the political field and concludes by showing that dominant professional politicians use gender-equality measures in a way that allows them to preserve masculine power and in-group sociability and to reproduce a conservative gender order.


Parity law France Representation Equality Conservatism 


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© The Author(s) 2017

Open Access This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IRISSO (Institute for Interdisciplinary Research in Social Sciences)Paris-Dauphine PSL Research UniversityParisFrance

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