Paris City Hall Fined for Hiring Too Many Women in Senior Positions. Really.

"I am happy to announce we have been fined," said the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Local authorities in Paris have been hit with a fine worth tens of thousands of euros for hiring too many women in senior positions in 2018, in a move dubbed “absurd” by the city’s mayor.

Under a French law passed in 2013 aimed at helping women get better access to senior government jobs, neither men nor women can make up 60 percent of senior appointments in a year.

But in 2018 authorities in the French capital appointed five men and 11 women, or 69 percent, to the top jobs, earning the city a fine of 90,000 euros (about £81,000 or $110,000), payable to France’s Public Service Ministry.


"I am happy to announce we have been fined,” joked Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo before a meeting of the city council on Tuesday.

But she added: "This fine is obviously absurd, unfair, irresponsible and dangerous.”

The 2013 law has since been amended so that the fine does not apply as long as appointments in a year do not lead to an overall imbalance between men and women, Le Monde reports, but that waiver only applies from 2019 onwards.

Hidalgo said she would deliver the fine to the Public Service Ministry herself, along with women colleagues. "So there will be many of us," she said.

France’s public service minister Amélie de Montchalin agreed that the law prior to 2019 was absurd, and promised that the fine would be put towards “concrete actions” to promote women in public service.