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The French RepublicHistory, Values, Debates$
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Edward Ducler Berenson, Vincent Duclert, and Christophe Prochasson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449017

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449017.001.0001

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(p.182) 20 Parité
The French Republic

Joan Wallach Scott

Cornell University Press

This chapter concerns the “parity” law, which aimed at increasing the representation of women in political office. Parité was the articulation of a new conceptualization in which women's rights were assumed to be the same as men's. This was not a matter of simply ending discrimination by eventually extending men's rights to women (a compensatory move at best) but of recognizing the equality of the sexes as foundational—a constitutive principle upon which democratic social and political structures must be built. Although government rhetoric heralded it as evidence of France's unique approach to gender equality (“this law will accelerate the modernization of political life and reinforce democracy”) in fact it has not yet led to the revolution in representation that its early proponents predicted.

Keywords:   parity law, parité, gender equality, women's rights, political representation, discrimination

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