Sexism in France

A friend has contacted me because she had been shocked at hearing the experiences of assaults on women in cities in France, most especially Paris. The problem is so bad that many young women have moved out of Paris and avoid travelling on the metro and other areas at night. This is not a new problem and it would appear that sexism is ingrained in French culture. It is the proverbial elephant in the corner. It is not limited to one section of the population so cannot be blamed or linked to the recent rise in such attacks by migrants as in other EU cities. Although this may now add to making it worse and be a reason as to why it is not looked upon with disgust and marches to stop it in France.

I have read some of the experiences and been told that when they have asked French women as to why they tolerate this behaviour. The response has been that they appeared not to question, but have accepted this behaviour because it has always existed and that the police and government do nothing about it. It appeared to be almost a forced passage of life. Tried to speak with my French neighbours who firmly told me this is not a subject you discuss openly in France. But all agreed it is a bad problem getting worse.

It appears that this subject was raised on another forum and is one of the only times it has been a proactive discussion point for expats. Maybe because it is an unpleasant and firm example against the "everything in France is better” myth, it is ignored. I am told that the subject has been “skirted” on here but...This forum is “Survive in France” and is it not something that should be in discussion and women and those with daughters coming to live in France need to be aware of? Most importantly as it is getting worse and not apparently being accepted that there in an urgent need for change by a large proportion of French people.

May I add that this is not a feminist call for women against men.

Funnily enough I was having this discussion last week with a couple of male (French) colleagues who also thought the problem was getting worse.

And my 18 year old daughter was interviewed by France Bleu this morning in Pau who asked her what she thought about women's equality. Her response was mainly about how she doesn't feel comfortable out running especially in running shorts due to the number of guys who think it is acceptable to leer.

So yes, I think it is becoming a big issue.