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UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
France (CEDAW 25-07-2016)
The Committee considered the combined seventh and eighth periodic reports of France (CEDAW/C/FRA/7-8) at its 1409th and 1410th meetings, on 8 July 2016 (see CEDAW/C/SR.1409 and 1410). The Committee’s list of issues and questions is contained in CEDAW/C/FRA/Q/7-8 and the responses of France are contained in CEDAW/C/FRA/Q/7-8/Add.1.
C. Principal areas of concern and recommendations
Stereotypes and harmful practices
- The Committee welcomes the State party’s efforts to combat discriminatory gender stereotypes, including by promoting the sharing of household duties and parenting responsibilities, and to address the stereotyped portrayal of women in the media, including by regulating broadcasting licences and strengthening the role of the Higher Council for the Audiovisual Sector. The Committee also welcomes the legislative and other measures taken to combat harmful practices, including child and forced marriage, female genital mutilation and crimes in the name of so-called honour. The Committee is, however, concerned:
(a) That discriminatory stereotypes in respect of the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and in society persist in the State party;
(b) That Muslim women and girls are exposed to a heightened risk of discrimination and Islamophobic and/or anti-Muslim acts, based on the intersecting factors of their sex and religion, as well as origin, and that the risk of discrimination is compounded by the current social and political context;
(c) That the media and the advertising sector continue to convey stereotyped and sexualized images of women;
(d) That the prevalence of pornography and the so-called sexualization of the public sphere in the State party may exacerbate sexual harassment and gender-based violence against women and girls;
(e) That information on harmful practices and the ways to combat them in the State party is not readily accessible to many women;
(f) That medically unnecessary and irreversible surgery and other treatment are routinely performed on intersex children, as noted by the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Committee against Torture.
- The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Adopt a comprehensive strategy to modify or eliminate patriarchal attitudes and stereotypes that discriminate against women, with particular focus on women belonging to minority groups, who are often the target of hate speech and racially motivated violence. The strategy should include monitoring to assess the impact of the measures taken and facilitate the design of remedial action to ensure their social integration;
(b) Combat all forms of discrimination against women and girls belonging to racial, ethnic, national and religious minorities, including those living in sensitive urban areas, to ensure their equal access to health care and education, employment, housing and the public and political arenas and to reinforce the willingness and capacity to live together in harmony (le vivre-ensemble);
(c) Engage with relevant actors and use innovative measures, including by imposing stricter regulations when possible, to enhance a positive and non-stereotypical portrayal of women in the media and in advertisements;
(d) Conduct a study on the possible impact of oversexualized representations of girls and women in the media and the prevalence of pornography on the increase in gender-based violence against women in the State party;
(e) Systematically collect disaggregated data on harmful practices in the State party and make information on ways to combat such practices widely available;
(f) Develop and implement a rights-based health-care protocol for intersex children, ensuring that children and their parents are appropriately informed of all options; that children are involved, to the greatest extent possible, in decision-making about medical interventions and that their choices are respected; and that no child is subjected to unnecessary surgery or treatment, as recommended recently by the Committee against Torture (see CAT/C/FRA/CO/7, para. 35) and the Committee on the Rights of the Child (see CRC/C/FRA/CO/5, para. 48).