PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday fighting for equality between men and women was an important cause of his mandate as he announced measures aimed at tackling sexism in the European country.
Macron made his comments in a speech at the Élysée Palace in front of members of associations and magistrates, during an event that began with a minute of silence for the 123 women who died in the country last year as a result of gender-based violence.
“France should no longer be a country where women are afraid,” the head of state said.
Among the priorities he set out were putting legislation in place to allow women to move around in public spaces without being verbally or physically abused by certain men, and proposed increasing the statue of limitations regarding sexual offenses against minors from 20 to 30 years.
He also touched on the possibility of being able to contact police over the internet in cases of gender-based violence, and unveiled plans to create hospital units specializing in psycho-traumatic treatment for women victims of gender-based violence.
The president also said there was a need to review regulations for digital content.
He said a teaching module would be introduced in all state schools aimed at “the prevention and fight against sexism, harassment and violence” towards women.
Macron will set aside 420 million euros ($501 million) for the issue in 2018 – 23 million more than for 2017 – though feminist organizations have already said the increase is insufficient to meet current needs.
Feminist groups have called for a protest on Saturday afternoon at Republic Square in Paris over funding.