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Paris city hall fined for hiring too many women under law aimed at fixing gender balance

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Paris — Paris city hall has been fined 90,000 euros ($109,408) for having appointed too many women to top positions in 2018, in breach of a law aimed at ensuring gender balance. Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo mocked the fine as "unfair" and "absurd" on Tuesday during a meeting of the city council.

A 2013 law meant to ensure that women get better access to senior jobs in the civil service requires a minimum of 40% of appointments for each gender.

In 2018, 11 women and 5 men — who represent just over 30% — were appointed to top positions in the Paris city hall, leading the Civil Service Ministry to impose the fine. 

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is seen in Paris, December 14, 2020. FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty

"I am happy to announce we have been fined," Hidalgo, of the Socialist party, said during the council meeting on Tuesday. "The management of the city hall has, all of a sudden, become far too feminist." 

"This fine is obviously absurd, unfair, irresponsible and dangerous," Hidalgo said.

According to BBC News, French Public Service Minister Amélie de Montchalin responded with a tweet noting that the law was changed in 2019, preventing fines for too many men or women in any public office, provided that an overall gender balance was still achieved.

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Montchalin vowed that the fine collected from Paris city hall – which still applies as the 2018 hiring was done before the law was changed – would be spent on "concrete actions" to improve gender parity in the country.

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