Tied Down

French President Nicholas Sarkozy raised the ire of some of his female cabinet members recently when he presented them, along with their male colleagues, with gray silk ties. The ties, a gift to celebrate France's EU presidency, were described as "yet more proof of male chauvinism in the political class" by

Socialist MP Aurelie Filippetti . Women occupy the positions of Junior Minister, Justice Minister, Interior Minister and a host of other positions in Sarkozy's cabinet - 18% of the National Assembly. Not everyone was offended by the gift; some women have apparently been seen sporting the ties, Paula Poundstone-style, while a few have been using them as headbands. However, attempts to sew the ties into skirts should be discouraged, on grounds of 1994. [BBC]