Paris city authorities have been fined for hiring too many women in senior positions, a decision derided as absurd by Mayor Anne Hidalgo on Tuesday.
The € 90,000 (£ 81,000) fine was demanded by the French Ministry of Public Service on the grounds that Paris City Hall violated national gender equality rules in its 2018 workforce.
“I am happy to announce that we have been fined,” Hidalgo, a member of the Socialist Party, told a city council meeting, adding that she was delighted to hear of the punishment.
Hidalgo said she was blamed because in 2018 eleven women and only five men were appointed to management positions at City Hall, meaning 69% of appointments went to women.
“The city hall management has suddenly become much too feminist,” said Hidalgo, who was re-elected at the helm of Paris last year for a new term.
According to the text of the ruling cited by Le Monde, City Hall has violated a 2013 rule that one gender should not represent more than 60% of nominations for management positions.
Hidalgo said she would hand over the check for the fine to the government in person, along with her deputy mayors and all the women who work for her.
In a more serious tone, she added, “This fine is clearly absurd, unfair, irresponsible and dangerous,” adding that women in France should be vigorously promoted as the backlog is still very great all over France.
“Yes, in order to achieve equality one day, we have to increase the pace and ensure that more women than men are employed,” she said.
Commenting on Twitter, French public service minister Amélie de Montchalin of the ruling party La République En Marche acknowledged that the fine had been imposed for 2018.
Since then, the absurd rule about parity in management has been dropped, she noted.
“I want the fine that Paris pays for 2018 to fund concrete actions to promote women in public service. I invite you to the ministry to discuss them, ”she said in a message to Hidalgo.