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Gov't goes back to school for gender equality lessons
PARIS--First there was Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who allegedly referred to women as "material," then catcalls in the French Parliament just because a female government minister wore a floral dress.
But when this month the French agriculture minister--in an interview about promoting gender equality--suggested that women couldn't get their heads around technical jobs, that was too much.
The prime minister of France--a country which produced feminist icons such as Joan of Arc and Simone de Beauvoir--has decided that his ministers need to go back to school for anti-sexism classes.
On Jean-Marc Ayrault's orders, the Equality Ministry has set up a series of 45-minute gender equality "sensitization sessions," during which ministers are being trained to identify sexism in daily life and taught how to avoid sexist stereotypes in political communication.
Organizers told The Associated Press that it's a full class, with all 38 ministers signed up or in the process of registering. In the interest of gender equality, the female ministers are going, too.
The goal, said organizer Caroline de Haas, is that ministers take time to think about sexism. "If you're not vigilant, de facto inequalities are created," she said.