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French women walk out to protest 15% gender pay gap

Thousands of women throughout France were set to walk off the job at exactly 4:34 p.m. Monday in an organized protest against the country’s gender pay gap.

Les Glorieuses, the feminist publication and group behind the orchestrated protest, argue that unequal annual pay means women are effectively working for free from 4:34 p.m. Nov. 7 until the end of the year.

Women in France make 15.1 percent less than their male counterparts. The founder of Les Glorieuses, Rebecca Amsellem, said that French women would have to work an additional 38.2 days in a year to reach pay parity.


French government minister Ericka Bareigts showed her support, tweeting “What should be obvious is still a struggle.”

The movement has also received backing from Women’s Rights Minister Laurence Rossignol, who told the Huffington Post: “It’s difficult for a minister to support what looks like a call for strike, but the initiative has my liking.”

The walkout in France follows a similar protest in Iceland last month, when women in the capital Reykjavik and across the country left work at 2:38 p.m. — timed to mark the precise moment in the day when women there effectively begin working for free. Amsellem told VICE News that today’s action was “of course strongly inspired by the Icelandic women.”

France is ranked 17th out of the 28 countries in the European Union for gender pay parity. The average pay gap across Europe is 16.7 percent.