Gender equality at the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs

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Gender equality at the Ministry

Gender equality is the “great national cause” of President Macron’s term. At the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the issue of gender equality is being addressed at two levels: internally, to improve occupational equality, and externally, under France’s foreign policy.

These two major, mutually supportive areas of work are described in France’s international strategy for gender equality (2018-2022). Agnès von der Mühll, Senior Official for equality of rights between men and women, spurs on, coordinates and manages the work of the Ministry’s various departments in support of equality in these two fields.

A proactive policy within the Ministry to foster occupational equality

The aim is to tend towards occupational equality in every field, including career progression, appointments, combating discrimination and training. The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs has established a whole spectrum of measures to foster a work/life balance, provide support in geographical mobility and combat sexist behaviour.

The AFNOR label that was granted to the Ministry on 23 October 2017 acknowledges these efforts and confirms a long-term approach. The approach is monitored through 37 binding indicators subject to periodic evaluation, including:

  • Flexible working conditions;
  • Parity in recruitment panels;
  • Replacement during maternity leave;
  • Training and outreach on professional equality;
  • Development of home working at the central administration.

Improving internal practices on occupational equality and parity

A proactive policy to appoint women

Half of the permanent staff at the Ministry are women.

According to the statistics established on 31 December 2021, 28% of the Ministry’s ambassadors are women (compared with 11% in 2012), making up 50% of women ambassadors in European Union countries.

In 2022, nearly 30% (29.76%) of consul-generals are women.

The Ministry has met the goals of the Sauvadet Act with 44% of prime appointments for women ambassadors and directors of the central administration. The percentage is 41.3% if all positions of the Sauvadet Act are considered (ambassadors, directors in the central administration, heads of services and heads of departments).

Improving occupational equality also means highlighting issues in institutional communication and adopting appropriate policies such as:

• The prevention and fight against discrimination, acts of violence, moral or sexual harassment and sexist behaviour via the special “zero tolerance” unit providing counselling and psychological assistance;
• The continuation and strengthening of programmes to improve people’s work/life balance.

These services are for all Ministry staff.

Moving from outreach to training and support for staff

Outreach activities on gender equality are organized for all new staff at the Ministry and those preparing for expatriation. This “initial training” is topped up through intranet modules for staff already working at the Ministry.

Longer and more specialized training activities are also organized for staff who are to work on gender issues internationally as part of their role and those in positions of responsibility.

Strengthening the network of gender equality contact and focal points

As of 2019, the network of gender equality contact points within the Ministry is made up of 170 people. This network is responsible for coordination between the central administration and the Ministry’s network as regards gender equality.

Contact points are tasked with holding dialogue with local partners, monitoring the theme of equality and communicating on French policy and the Ministry’s international strategy.

Updated: May 2022

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