Paris Mayor Responds to 'Absurd' $109,000 Fine for Hiring Too Many Women

The City of Paris was slapped with a $109,000 penalty because Mayor Anne Hidalgo had hired 11 women and five men to senior staff roles in 2018.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo

Image via Getty/Nicolas Messyasz/Pool/AFP

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo

The City of Paris was slapped with a $109,000 fine for hiring too many women. No, really.

According to NPR, France's Ministry of Public Service imposed the penalty because Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo had appointed 11 women and five men to senior staff positions in 2018. The hirings, of which 69 percent were women, reportedly violated a 2013 rule that states no more than 60 percent of new appointments should go to one sex. 

Hidalgo, who was elected in 2014 and re-elected this year, mocked the fine during a recent council meeting.

"I am happy to announce we have been fined," the socialist lawmaker said. "The management of the city hall has, all of a sudden, become far too feminist."

Hidalgo said the city would pay the $109,000 and that she would deliver it to the Ministry of Public Service along with the other women who work in city hall.

"So there will be a lot of us," she added.

NPR reports the 2013 law was changed in 2019, when the government implemented a waiver to the 40/60 percent rule just as long as the new hires did not affect the overall balance of gender representation. According to Le Monde, about 47 percent of senior executives in the Paris government are women. The outlet also points out that women working in city government are paid about 6 percent less than their male colleagues. 

Hidalgo made no apologies for hiring nearly 30 percent more women than men, explaining her goal was to fix the disparity between males and females in government positions.

"Yes, we must promote women with determination and vigor, because the delay everywhere in France is still very great," the mayor said. "So yes, to promote and one day achieve parity, we must speed up the tempo and ensure that in the nominations there are more women than men."

Amélie de Montchalin, France's minister of public service, expressed support for Hidalgo in a Tuesday tweet.

"The cause of women deserves better! We repealed this absurd provision in 2019," Montchalin wrote. I" want the fine paid by Paris for 2018 to finance concrete actions to promote women in the public service. I invite you to the ministry to evoke them!"

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