France: The Republic Tested by Parity

France: The Republic Tested by Parity

Réjane Sénac's new publication
  • Cover of The Palgrave Handbook of Women’s Political RightsCover of The Palgrave Handbook of Women’s Political Rights

Réjane Sénac is a researcher at the Centre of political researches of Sciences Po (CEVIPOF) and member of PRESAGE's steeting committee. She wrote chapter 32 of Palgrave's new Handbook of Women's Political Rights titled "France: The Republic Tested by Parity".


Sénac explores the relationship between French republicanism and the gender parity reforms enacted over the last twenty years. In 2000, France was the first country to institute a legal requirement for political parties to nominate equal numbers of women and men as candidates on election lists. This appears paradoxical in a country where women obtained the right to vote and to be elected only in 1944. While progress was initially slow, in 2017 nearly 40% women were elected to the National Assembly. Yet women continue to be under represented in other key positions, as head of state and government, presidents of parliaments, presidents of regional and departmental councils, and chairpersons of city councils. This suggests that quotas do not address all aspects of male dominance.

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