How far can the progress of women’s rights in the principality go?

On 5 May, the National Council of the Principality of Monaco passed a bill aimed at abolishing or amending 85 legal and legal texts for equality between men and women. A “symbolic” measure for the French and Monegasque associations acknowledging that developments are “going in the right direction” but that steps need to be taken further.

Over three years, the state’s legal services have analyzed 12,000 texts to identify “obsolete and sexist” terms. A bill has been introduced under the Committee for the Promotion and Protection of Women’s Rights, chaired by Celine Cotalorda. “The desire was to update our texts so that they would be more relevant to the 2022 society whose lifestyles have evolved more than those written in the past,” he develops.

Monaco National Council votes on bill to amend or delete obsolete texts – Committee to promote and protect women’s rights

The inter-ministerial representative for women’s rights cites a number of examples: In semantic obsolescence, we have corrected the fact that a woman cannot be a notary or a bailiff. In fact, it has been for years. And in technical or scientific obsolescence, we have removed this period of widowhood for which widows or divorced women had to wait 310 days before remarrying so that they were not pregnant by their previous husbands and thus ensure paternity of the child. A

“Legislation changes mindset”

For the committee’s representative, changing the law is “a necessary basis for equality between men and women.” She continues: “It’s not just symbolic, it’s deeper because it helps advance women’s rights among other steps that can be taken.”

Other steps, such as the release of a statistical survey conducted since 2019 on wage inequality between men and women, are yet to be taken. First in principality.

For Vibeke Brask Thomsen, director of the Monegasque Association SheCanHeCan, “Legal change causes a change of mindset” but for correcting the text, he believes “we should not say thank you”. “It simply came to our notice then. Make it even the least of that. An opinion shared by Alps-Maritimes Family Planning that sees “any progress is good”, but it is “a little weak”.

For abortion legalization, “we have reached a limit”

Inspired by the #MeToo era since its creation in 2018 and to meet European requirements, the Committee for the Promotion and Protection of Women has enabled several advances in principality. Thus, paternity leave has been extended, the concept of “head of the family” has been changed, women can also receive family allowances, and the fight against violence against women has intensified. “We want to show that in Monaco, as elsewhere, we are concerned about women’s rights,” said Celine Cotalorda. The principality wants to take part in this fight. We are exempt from this because we are in a 2 km2 area with a certain standard of living. A

In these changes, the committee also worked on criminalizing abortion. Thus since 2019, voluntary termination of pregnancy is no longer criminal but it has remained illegal, doctors have no right to practice it. For the inter-ministerial representative for women’s rights, this is a “tremendous step forward” but she has made it clear: “We cannot go any further and gain legitimacy. We have reached a point where Catholicism is the state religion.”

“We grew up in a city where we don’t have the right to have an abortion.”

The Monegasque Feminist Association acknowledges that the National Council has gone as far as possible with this criminalization. “Abortion is still accessible to Monegasks because they do not have to fly and it is possible to find a way to get compensation. The real problem is that on paper, you grow up and develop in a city where you have no right to adopt this habit, only in case of rape, fetal malformations, illness or danger to the life of the mother. A

According to information from 20 minutesContraception and abortion may be topics covered in class during sex education interventions and refer to the specifics of Monegasque law.

That’s when care was taken across the border, in the Alps-Maritimes. Family Planning 06 adopts “regular” women who want to end their pregnancy. Claire Moraccini, a marriage and family counselor at the Departmental Association, recalls that for minors, “treatment at the Archet Hospital Center in Nice is free.” He added that for adults, it is not just gynecologists who can perform medical abortions, “midwives and general practitioners also have training and do not charge extra fees”.

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