Nikki Livermore

Having It All But Not Having Equality

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This is a really interesting ... French women have an abundance of "benefits" when they have children but that seems to be where it stops. I'd love to hear from Bluesma or our other European members on what they think of this.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/12/world/eu...t-fffrance.html

From the article:

Courtesy of the state, French women seem to have it all: multiple children, a job and, often, a figure to die for.

What they don?t have is equality: France ranks 46th in the World Economic Forum?s 2010 gender equality report, trailing the United States, most of Europe, but also Kazakhstan and Jamaica. Eighty-two percent of French women aged 25-49 work, many of them full-time, but 82 percent of parliamentary seats are occupied by men. French women earn 26 percent less than men but spend twice as much time on domestic tasks. They have the most babies in Europe, but are also the biggest consumers of anti-depressants.

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Courtesy of the state, French women seem to have it all: multiple children, a job and, often, a figure to die for.

What they don?t have is equality:

France ranks 46th in the World Economic Forum?s 2010 gender equality report, trailing the United States, most of Europe, but also Kazakhstan and Jamaica.

Eighty-two percent of French women aged 25-49 work, many of them full-time, but 82 percent of parliamentary seats are occupied by men.

French women earn 26 percent less than men but spend twice as much time on domestic tasks.

They have the most babies in Europe, but are also the biggest consumers of anti-depressants.

Sounds like they need to drink more wine. I would.

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Okay, I live in the French speaking region of Switzerland. I know lots of French women. Although I can not comment on any of the statistics in the article, which would require time to research on my part, IMO most of the article was full of stereotypical comments that not only made me laugh but made me pause for thought that the article was more appropriate for a rag-tag than the NYT to print.

I am currently enjoying my vacation in the US but when I get back home will ask some of my friends what they think about it and comment further if the topic is still up in discussion.

But for now I do have to comment on 2 of the things that made me laugh.....

Granted there are substantial cultural differences and the family and medical programs, although not without their own magnitude of problems, they do provide a unique set of benefits that would never be seen in the USA. But, I laughed out loud at the part about the program to prepare women to return to sexual activity as quickly as possible following the birth of their child through a specialized medical program somewhat outlined in the article. Maybe it is true but I never heard anything of the such after the birth of my 2 children. And, no one I have ever known has pleaded with their doctor to be hooked up to such a machine shortly after giving birth. LOL

My husband is in medicine and we have lots of doctors in our social network of friends, many of them women. None, I repeat, none of them work in stilettos. They may arrive and leave in them but they are left in the locker during work hours as other parts of the world. This lady who is quoted has been watching too much Grays Anatomy on TV.

I found the article laughable, highly stereotypical and in general I think most of our friends would find it offensive. The "stats" can be manipulated as we all know to support all kinds of opinions in any argument.

Qu'est ce que vous en pensez Bluesma?

C'est ridicule?

aurevoir, L-T-R

edited for spelling

Edited by Loves-to-Ride

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Oh... I am about to leave the office, so haven't read the article yet! But would love to discuss this matter because I find it fascinating- the contrast is really strong between the two countries.

What one needs to consider is that it is being assumed here, by americans, that one has more power according to the roles they play outside in the workplace... and how much money they earn there.

This is a cultural value, that we tend to assume is a universal truth instead.

-Consider instead a country where the home is valued higher then the workplace.

Where ones personal life and family is much more important than ones job.

Where people would move far away in a heartbeat to be close to their family, but will not even consider moving for employment reasons.

Where the person who "brings home the bacon" simply hands it over to the boss once home and is considered the labor worker....to follow the direction of the boss.

Where outer roles of authority are always challenged and disrespected,

But the mothers are untouchable, not questioned.....

There is a total misunderstanding possible here! Women are supremely powerful here.

Yes, they get three years paid maternity leave and paid re-education of the vaginal muscles.

(I didn't do it, even if it was free... I know how to my Keigels and that's fine! [bat Eyelashes] )

The women have more power than the men, carry more weight and responsibility for decision making (men are often "kept" and free from much of that) so they do get very stressed.

I watch my girlfriends running everyones world around them, and they love the power, but I cannot match their ability to carry so much.

It might be stronger where I am, in the South, on the mediterranean, where the latin influence is stronger than up in the north.

At this time, 75% pf the students in medical school to become doctors are female.

Whenever I get calls from the electrical company, gas, Cable, etc. about billing, if my husband answers, they immediately ask to speak to his wife. That is the norm here. Women deal with all important papers and decisions, usually.

They also cheat more than men, I think (just from what I see around me).

Having a job of power in the outside workplace, being visible that way, is considered superificial, and it is commonly said women are "the wise sex".

I personally tend to think it is unequal here- in the womens favor. And as an american, I often find myself judging men as unmasculine because they just seem to be having fun and leaving all responsibility to their wives. But that is my cultural bias.

It is wierd to see people here look upon the american culture and have the same sort of disrespect for the women who do not "stand up and be a woman" and whip her man and children into shape and run her home as a tight ship. They sometimes think we're wussies, just as much as we might call their men wussies!

I snear at the guys spending all their time working on their body and buying fashionable clothes, and reading about how to be romantic and sexy (to keep their wife),

and then observe women here snear at the american women who spend all their time doing the same thing (to keep their husbands. )

It is a really wierd contrast to be aware of. It also made me very aware of the downside of power- the heavy responsibility. Why someone would prefer not to have more power and choose it. Some women might say, sounds great! I want to move to France! But being the pillars of society is a heavy role, and can really drain you too.

Edited by Bluesma

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I think that's a problem with a lot of Americans, we tend to assume that women in other countries are really unhappy in their subservient roles. But as Bluesma pointed out, we may not be getting the whole picture and cultural differences play a huge role in what is considered acceptable. Their are some middle eastern cultures where women are happy to keep their faces covered and be subservient to the husband. It's what they believe and how they were raised. Now if they don't want to live that way, they should be able to have a choice (which admittedly is not always the case).

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