Keeping his poll promise, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a gender-balanced cabinet for France on Wednesday assigning 11 of the 22 cabinet positions to women. The Guardian reported that out of the five most important roles in the government, only one went to a woman. Sylvie Goulard, a member of European parliament and Macron’s European adviser during his presidential campaign, got the defence portfolio. Her appointment also signalled towards closer European defence upholding Macron’s commitment to European integration.
Other major cabinet appointments include Olympic fencing champion Laura Flessel as sports minister, Muriel Pénicaud as labour minister, Agnes Buzyn as health minister and Annick Girardin as the overseas territories minister.
According to a CNN report, Macron’s predecessor Francois Hollande had also appointed a gender-balanced cabinet with half of the 34 ministers and junior ministers being women. It was noted by political commentators that the heavyweight roles in 2012 went to men. Macron also chose center-right Republican leader Edouard Philippe as his Prime Minister. UN Women noted that as of January 2015, only 17 per cent of government ministers were women, majorly overseeing social sectors, such as education and the family.
France is all set to go to polls for its legislative elections in June. Macron’s one-year-old La Republique En Marche! party, which has never held a single seat in the Parliament, has announced 428 candidates till now, out of which half are women.
The move holds significance since as of June 2016, only 23.3 per cent of all national parliamentarians in the world were women, according to Women in National Parliaments. From 11.3 per cent in 1995, it took more than two decades to record an increase of over 10 per cent.
There are 38 States in the world where women account for less than 10 per cent of parliamentarians in single or lower houses, including 4 chambers with no women at all. Currently, Rwanda has the highest number of women parliamentarians, followed by Bolivia. Out of the 787 elected members in both Houses of Indian Parliament, only 91 are held by women parliamentarians.