If it’s Friday, it must be France
Bonjour! Before we talk France I want to let you know I’m at the energizing hive of activity, Girlfriendology.com, today. We’re continuing the blogtalk about … what else (?!?) … women, connections and inspiring girls. If you’re taking a break around 1:30 EST, Debba and I would love to have you join us on her blogtalk radio. Just click on this link to take you there.
And now back to France to see what was going on there this week.
Did you know the word “mademoiselle” (the French equivalent of “miss”) will now be removed from all government forms? (The New York Times had reported the word was now “banned”, which is not quite accurate.) Two powerful French feminist groups have mounted a strong advocacy campaign for some time for this move and someone has finally listened.
The issue is that “mademoiselle” clearly denotes the marital status of a woman, as opposed to “madame”, but men are always referred to as “monsieur” whether single or married. Women are either mademoiselles or madames for official and business purposes depending on their marital situation.
This distinction no longer exists in a number of Western countries. Germany banned the word Fraulein from official use in 1972. For many decades English-speaking countries have offered women the option of the neutral Ms, although Miss does still appear in many instances. No such alternative was offered in France, quite possibly because many young French people widely shun marriage these days and simply don’t consider it an issue.
A little history – mademoiselle comes from demoiselle, which used to be a title of nobility in pre-revolutionary France. The link to marital status occurred during the Napoleonic era.
In another good step, France has given final approval to legislation requiring corporations to reserve at least 40% of the board positions for women. Read more here.
For all of the celebrating and recognition of the great strides towards equality achieved by women through the past 101 years since the first IWD, there is still a long way to go. This article from the Guardian gives an overview of struggles around the world, including La Belle France, faced by women today.
Here’s a thought for today that fits right in. Can you translate? If not, tune in next Friday. Bon weekend, tout le monde!