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Calls for a change in women’s rights in French sport

Paris (AP) – French society is at a “turning point” in women’s rights in the male-dominated sports world, the country’s sports minister said this week amid a wave of protests by women journalists who condemn discrimination.

As Paris prepares to accept what France hopes will be the most equal Olympics in 2024, Sports Minister Roxana Marciniana described her own experience with sexism, saying it was time for a change in French thinking.

“Whether we are a woman journalist, a woman minister or a woman leader, today, if we want to advance (women’s) work, we must advance it with determination, ambition and conviction, because it can change people’s thinking. “Maracineanu told the Associated Press in an interview.

The 45-year-old minister, the first world champion in the history of French swimming, a silver medalist at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, also worked on television as a sports commentator. She said she was not surprised by the many stories of female sports journalists in the documentary shown on Sunday, who condemned the sexist words, harassment they usually encounter with people who commented on their colleagues on social media.

In recent years, such scandals have erupted in the French healthcare and restaurant industry, he said.

“And I am even less surprised at how true this topic is in the field of sports,” said Marasinian. “It’s an overwhelmingly male-dominated world, historically dominated by men.”

On the day the documentary aired, more than 150 women sports journalists made a call to “get land” in the profession.

According to the French media, the chief observer of the media, last year the voice of women was heard in 13% of the sports coverage of radio and television. About half of French journalists are women, although they make up only 10% of the country’s 3,000 sports journalists.

Maracineanu, who ousted President Emanuel Macron’s government for two years, said he was sexist in his work, including that some people thought he had little or no control over all sports, especially those traditionally are considered masculine.

“They feel I have no right to talk about certain topics because social media or even some journalists or commentators think it is permissible to question what I am saying as Minister of Sports,” he said. “I often get remarks saying, ‘You know about swimming, but you don’t know about football or rugby.’

But everything is changing, he added.

“This documentary, for example, where women speak up, tell their stories, dare to tell what they lived through. “It also enables the authorities to find out some things that they are not aware of. They should initiate an internal investigation or, if necessary, a judicial investigation. It raises public awareness,” said Maratsinian.

Rugby expert Clementine Sarlat left one of France’s most prestigious sports programs in 2018 after facing a period of persecution following sexism and harassment.

“I was discriminated against,” he told the Associated Press.

In addition to the sexist remarks, Sarlat, who was originally planning to host the show, was told that in the end he would have to “step aside” and not receive a salary increase.

He later publicly described the disturbing environment, sparking an internal investigation into a public television group that led to the dismissal of three members of the sports service last year.

Influenced by the changes taking place in the United States against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement, he felt it was his duty to speak out.

“I thought. If they do it to me, someone who goes on TV … what about women who do not have the same influence as me? Sarlat said.

Although sex discrimination has been a recurring theme in sports for decades, women journalists hope that greater public awareness and better employer response will help make the necessary changes to the profession.

When he learned of Sarlat’s story last year, rugby journalist Amaya Kazenav, who worked for Radio France at the time, thought: “I live through the same thing.”

He described sexist expressions in the workplace, humiliation, discrimination, and a “toxic environment” in which he was “systematically blocked” from pursuing career opportunities.

RFE / RL launched an internal investigation this week, with Kazenav saying he had received reports from men and women protesting the state of the Public Radio’s editorial staff.

“This is such a part of corporate culture և a systemic problem that now that I have paved the way (to speak up), people are rushing to it,” Kazenav said.

Based on the revelations in the documentary, the French TV channel Canal + said on Friday that it has launched an internal investigation into the alleged sexual harassment of women journalists. On Friday, French radio station RMC Sport launched an internal investigation into alleged harassment of female journalists.

Against the backdrop of other actions aimed at increasing gender equality in the sports world, Maracineanu calls for a proposed law that includes a measure aimed at forcing as many women as men into the national and regional executive bodies of sports federations. The changes are mainly applied from 2024. The year when Paris will host the Olympic Games.

For the first time in the history of the Olympics, as many men and women will be able to compete in Paris, she stressed. The decision was made by the International Olympic Committee in December.

“When we (women) are equal to men’s television, the company ‘s executive committee or the sports federation…: will be able to say out loud what we think, և what we want to do, են be heard in the same way. “Men are heard today,” said Maratsinian. “It will be fair.”


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