Culture(s) / Women's situation in the workplace

A1 Breakthrough

Women's situation in the workplace

In your country, in your culture, are there businesswomen? Are they common or rather rare? How would you react if your boss or managing director was a woman? In your culture's movies, programmes, or series, to what extent are men and women shown as independent individuals, decision-makers, and initiators?

"It's been over 30 years since women started flooding the major universities, and, despite the fact that the female population is 46 % active, the percentage of women present on companies' board of directors is still only 6 %, and the percentage of women acting as CEO of big French businesses is less than 5%."
©L’Observateur of the OCDE n° 267, May-June 2008

The head of a company can be a woman (this is the case, in fact, here at TV5MONDE), however, generally, in France, women do not hold as many positions with responsibility and are paid less for the same level of qualification.
Moreover, more women work part-time jobs than men.

Working and having children

In your country and culture, who watches after the children during the day? Is it the mother, the father, the grandparents, the neighbours, or the nanny? Are there day care options for those women having a professional occupation? How would you feel, as a mother or father, if you were presented with the possibility of caring for your young child for 2 weeks to 6 months?

In western French-speaking counries, mothers are allotted a maternity leave: it's 16 weeks long in France, and 18 weeks in Quebec.
There is now also a paternity leave at the time the child is born. In France, the paternity leave (11 days, added to the 3 days allotted at the time of birth) is in effect since 2002. It has become more and more valued: almost 70% of fathers take it today.
It is now finally possible to go on a parental leave of education, remunerated over a short period of time.

In France and in Belgium, children less than 3 years old can go to a daycare center or stay with a nanny, which means the parents can keep working.
But sometimes the mother will watch the children at home; in rare cases, the father will take a break in his professional occupation to take care of the children.

Practical exercises

Culture(s): women's situation in the workplace

4 exercises
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