Gender equality at the French Foreign Ministry

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As a principle of Community law since the 1957 Treaty of Rome, gender equality is, strictly speaking, the representation of women and men in equal numbers, each gender representing half of the population.

Women are in a numerical majority within the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In January 2013, women accounted for 53% of established civil servants at the Ministry, including 30% of Category A agents, 43% of Category B agents and 68% of Category C agents.

The Human Resources Directorate is implementing measures aimed at ensuring professional equality between women and men :

  • whether within Joint Administrative Committees (38% of women represented the administration in 2012) ;
  • in cases of promotion from within, where the gender ratio is close to that of the different administrative categories : 58% of women were promoted to Category A in 2012 (47% in 2011) and 72% to Category B (62% in 2011) ;
  • at the Ministry’s central administration :
    ­ - 22% of women hold senior executive positions (14% in 2006): 6 of them are Directors, 4 are Inspectors
    ­ - Within that category, 34% of Head of Department positions are held by women (31% in 2011)
  • Lastly, women account for 33% of Adviser positions and 46% of Technical Adviser positions in ministerial private offices.

In January 2013, 25 of the 180 ambassadors abroad were women, which means that their ration rose to 14% (10% in 2006). This last figure, which is apparently stable, does not fully reflect the positive trend that is leading to the appointment of women ambassadors in more important countries than in recent years (e.g. to Beijing in 2011).

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs established a ministerial roadmap on the occasion of the meeting of the Interministerial Committee for Women’s Rights on 30 November 2012.

A new three-year 2013-2015 plan that is currently being finalized will allow further progress in those areas.

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Updated: January 2014

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