News / Europe

Sex Scandals Lead to Examination of French Culture

France's junior Minister for the Civil Service Georges Tron (L), Culture and Communications Minister Frederic Mitterrand (2nd L), Foreign Minister Alain Juppe (2nd R) and Research and Higher Education Minister Valerie Pecresse leave the Elysee Palace afte
France's junior Minister for the Civil Service Georges Tron (L), Culture and Communications Minister Frederic Mitterrand (2nd L), Foreign Minister Alain Juppe (2nd R) and Research and Higher Education Minister Valerie Pecresse leave the Elysee Palace afte
TEXT SIZE - +
Lisa Bryant

The sexual assault charges facing ex-International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn have raised a curtain on once-taboo subjects in his native France: the personal lives of public figures and a perceived culture of male chauvinism.

The charges also have unleashed a string of similar accusations. First from a journalist, who claimed Strauss-Kahn attacked her during an interview nearly a decade ago. Then on Sunday, a junior minister, Georges Tron, resigned from the center-right cabinet of President Nicolas Sarkozy after two women filed sexual-harassment suits against him.

Speaking on French radio, one of the women said she hoped a judicial inquiry against Tron would be thorough, and that she was not backing down.

Now the Tron scandal has been overtaken by another - pedophilia allegations leveled against a former French minister by another ex-minister, Luc Ferry.

During a television appearance this week, Ferry accused the unnamed ex-minister of having sexual relations with boys in Morocco. He said the matter was widely known in the highest political circles. On Wednesday, the French prosecutor's office opened a preliminary investigation into the allegations. Human rights activists say they will file complaints.

France's political class has expressed a range of emotions to these various scandals. In the past, it was widely accepted that news "stopped at the bedroom door."

Today, some lament that French politics is sinking to the level of anglo-saxon countries, where reporting on the personal lives of public figures can be considered fair game. Others argue the allegations are helping the far right, a year ahead of French presidential elections.

Still others, like French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, have expressed concern. On the pedophilia allegations, Juppe told French radio the accusations were serious and merited a judicial inquiry. He said public officials should be above reproach.

The mushrooming scandals have also unleashed a hot debate on women's rights. The head of a rights group called "Neither Whores Nor Submissives" argues they amount to a veritable "sexgate" in French politics.

Media reports are awash with grievances over a perceived macho and paternalistic culture inside and outside the workplace, aired not only by female politicians but also by ordinary women in France.


You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Resigns

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid