France ‘still deeply sexist’, report finds

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2023

PARIS: Sexism remains at an “alarming” level in France with many young men judging discriminatory or violent behaviour against women to be acceptable, a report published on Monday found.

Based on a study of 2,500 people France´s High Authority on Equality (HCE), a consultative body, found that while most respondents bemoaned sexism in principle, “they fail to reject it in practice”.

French people had become more aware of gender inequality, partly thanks to the #MeToo movement, but “bias and gender stereotypes, sexist cliches and everyday sexism are still commonplace”, it said

“The report shows a French society that remains deeply sexist in all its spheres,” the HCE said. Some of sexism´s most violent manifestations were actually getting worse, it said, especially for the younger generation.

While older men often remained stuck in conservative views on male and female roles in society, younger men sometimes displayed aggressively macho tendencies, the report said. Some 20 percent of men between 25 and 34 years polled said bragging about sexual exploits was needed to “be respected as a man in society”, while 23 percent said that men “sometimes need to use violence to get respect”.

While most men over 65 judged that the image of women in pornography was “problematic”, only 48 percent of men aged 15-34 years thought so. Some 80 percent of women questioned said, meanwhile, that they thought they had been “less well treated” in their lives because of their gender.

Fourteen percent said they had had a sexual act forced on them, and 37 percent said they had lived some sexual situation to which they had not consented. A quarter of the men in the report downplayed sexual violence, saying that “too much attention is being paid to sexual assaults”.