And now for some news regarding the mayor of a major metropolitan area that won't make you want to tear at your robes in agony and rub dirt on your face as part of a ritualistic mourning ceremony: as of now, the 2014 mayoral election in Paris is a women-only contest. Progress!
The two largest political parties have already chosen their candidates: Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet — a member of the Parliament and former spokesperson of Nicolas Sarkozy — of the center-right Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP) and Anne Hidalgo of the Parti Socialiste (PS), who is the first deputy to the current mayor of Paris. Acccording to Women's eNews, also expected to join the race are Marielle de Sarnez of the centrist party MoDem and Cecile DuFlot, leader of the Green party.
While French politics is not the most woman-friendly of arenas, Paris tends to me more progressive in terms of gender politics; in 2008, for instance, there were two female candidates for the position — although the woman elected in 2014 will be the first female mayor of the city.
It's clear that this is a wonderful first step; however, there's still a lot to be done before we can cry gender equality. According to Julia Mouzon, founder and CEO of Femmes et Pouvoir (Women and Power):
What is happening in Paris is the tree that hides the forest…the problem for women in French politics is not to be elected but to be designated by their party. They somehow don't trust women to give them the legitimacy to run a race on their behalf.
French media, too, tend to be suspicious of female candidates. According to Sandrine Leveque, a Parisian political scientist, "[T]he skills of female candidates are often questioned in spite of their qualifications. Such questions are never asked when we have a male candidate... 'Will she be up to the job? Will she fit the job? Will she survive?'"
In France now, less than 14 percent of elected mayoral candidates are women. Hopefully having a capable and strong woman lead Paris will do something to change that.
"Paris Mayoral Race Hosts an All-Female Field" [Women's eNews]
Images via AP.