The latest study published by DREES contains some surprising figures from 2014 on women’s role in society: one fifth of the French population believes that a mother’s place is at home, and 15% of the working population would prefer a male manager (compared with only 3% who would prefer to be managed by a woman).
This is despite the fact that, when it comes to education, women have made great leaps forward. Global studies of education show that prejudices still assign submissive roles, such as domestic tasks, to women. Moreover, 54% of children not attending school are female and 64% of illiterate adults are female.
Up until the 17th century, women were trained only to be future wives and mothers, and this has led to the deeply rooted belief that “girls weren’t made to study”. We therefore owe a huge debt to Jules Ferry, who passed laws in 1881 making education secular and mandatory for girls as well as boys – a big step forward for women’s education.
At the time, it was forbidden for women to wear trousers. In fact, it took until 2013 for the law on women dressing as men to be abolished because it was incompatible with the principles of gender equality. Who would have believed that this legislation would have remained in force for so long?
In 2017, women can vote, take part in the Olympic Games and wear trousers! But strong stereotypes about women still exist, particularly in the workplace. It’s not necessarily sexism, but it’s still an issue that both men and women need to think about.
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