Saturday, May 12, 2012

Ministerial Parity

Le Monde asks whether there are enough qualified women to enable François Hollande to fulfill his pledge of ministerial parity. Aubry and, yes, Royal will surely get portfolios, and it's not difficult to imagine, say, Anne Lauvergeon as minister of industry. Among up-and-coming Socialist women, Aurélie Filipetti, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, and Delphine Batho could be in line for lesser posts, and there are undoubtedly others I've not even heard of who are under consideration. And Hollande could go outside the ranks of professional politicians, as Sarkozy did when he appointed Lagarde.

That said, is parity a good idea? Is it a useful criterion to apply when appointing a government? While recognizing that France is seriously backward when it comes to bringing women into public life, I've never liked the parity law, and its failure to produce the desired result in spite of sanctions on the parties shows that the root of the problem is deeper than legislators believed when they passed the law. More important than achieving numerical equality, I think, is appointing women to top posts. Credit where credit is due: Sarkozy did well in this regard. I doubt that Hollande will match him, but he might.

Will a woman get a regalian ministry under Hollande? I think there are too many elephants at the trough. Aubry is the best placed, but for what portfolio? Unless it's prime minister, and I still think that job will go to Ayrault, despite his 1997 conviction on corruption charges. Foreign affairs: Fabius or Moscovici. Justice: Vallini. Finance: Sapin. Defense: whichever of Fabius or Moscovici doesn't get foreign affairs, although I suppose this could go to Aubry. And places will have to be found for Valls, Montebourg, Bartolone, etc. Of course one can always multiply ministries and secretariats of state to accommodate the party faithful, but when you add up all those limousines and motorcycle escorts, the benefits of a 30% reduction in the president's salary can disappear pretty quickly. It's all a bit of a sudoku puzzle for Hollande to solve on his way to the G8 meeting or to Berlin on the night of his investiture. But the government is to be announced the following day, so he will surely have made up his mind before then, if he hasn't already.


Anonymous said...

Segolene is going for the presidency of the National Assembly. And she'll probably get it.

Anonymous said...

I doubt Royal can be a minister after being the PS candidate for president. Although I do notice that the three up-and-coming young women were all handpicked by her in 2007. Les Inrockuptibles pointed to a fourth musketeer, Fleur Pellerin, who's a technogeek into new technologies.
A woman who's a sure bet: Marisol Touraine for Affaire Sociales.
Education (from preschool to higher ed) will go to Peillon with 2 or 3 subministries that are likely to be entrusted to women.
I sure hope Moscovici does not get anything (apparently he likes the title, not the work) and I kinda hope nothing for Fabius who seemed passé the two times I saw him on TV, arrogant and sure of himself but hardly as good as he thought himself to be. But I guess the only thing he could get would be Foreign Affairs.
I'll assume a second-rate politico like Bartolone will not get anything above délégué. Hollande's not hard-up for talented male candidates, he does not need Bartolone for anything. Valls and Montebourg, obviously. What about Rebsamen (Defense?), Jouyet? What about Deniaud (youth?), Hamon (?), Delaunay (Health?)? I've come to see that the PS is a very divided party, with many ideological groups with specific would-be leaders: Hollande will have to deal with the varieties of PS trends plus their allies - Cécile Duflot is rumored to be tapped already since she's just left her position at EELV. What about Eva Joly? Why not a délégué position dedicated to corruption and fraud (since apparently that's billions missing from the budget...) Cahuzac, by putting his foot in his mouth several times, seems to have shot his hopes of Finances and Sapin is rumored to be heading a big ministère with Economy and Finances together.
Hollande did say though -as Art suspects and regrets - that equal numbers does not mean equal responsabilities.. so that all the men may end up having "ministères' and most of the women "délégué" or é"secrétaire d'Etat".... :s
That'd be a step backwards after Sarkozy had appointed women to traditionally male ministers like défense, justice... I hope it won't be so but I'm not holding my breath.