France means business when it comes to their women.
French President Emmanuel Macron is taking a great step in addressing the severity of sexual assault and harassment. The leader announced his plan to strip film producer Harvey Weinstein of his Légion D’Honneur award following the flood of sexual assault, harassment, and rape allegations emerging.
This defining moment isn’t the only step that France has taken in protecting their women. The country is expected to put on-the-spot fines for catcalling and lecherous public behavior into action soon enough.
Marlene Schiappa, France’s new secretary for gender equality, is the woman behind the projected law. She stands behind her belief that the law is necessary due to the lack of legal backing of street harassment. “We know very well at what point we start feeling intimidated, unsafe or harassed on the street.”
Five members of parliament are working in conjunction with local police and magistrates to define harassment while analyzing how officers should manage each situation.
The price of the fines are a large part of the lingering discussion. “Twenty euros would be a bit humiliating, €5,000 would be more of a deterrent,” explained Schiappa. “At the moment, many men are saying, ‘It’s not a big deal, we’re only having fun.’ And we say, ‘No.’”
While many are in support of the law, Bruno Le Maire is not fully on board. The country’s economic minister said he would never denounce a politician guilty of harassment. He then backtracked the remark on Twitter saying, “It goes without saying that if I were aware of a case of sexual harassment against a woman, I would be the first to report it.”
Thankfully other countries are stepping up and standing up for women. Madrid created a law banning “manspreading” while on public transportation. New York City has a similar ban in place.