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“Can the path towards parity in sports federations be taken backwards?  »

« We’ve had enough of your moral lessons! » » Senator Olivier Paccaud (Les Républicains, LR) thus replied to his counterpart Patrick Kanner (Socialist Party), Tuesday January 18 at the Luxembourg Palace. “I would be sad if we said to the volunteers who have invested themselves without counting for years: goodbye, gentlemen! », he added.

The Senate was preparing to reject the government’s proposal, supported by the socialist group, to establish full parity in the governing bodies of sports federations from 2024, as part of the bill to « democratize sport ».

Today, three out of forty Olympic and Paralympic federations are chaired by women. “Without somewhat discriminatory measures, we will not succeed”, estimated the minister delegate in charge of sports, Roxana Maracineanu, before the upper house, thus designating the crux of the problem and the nature of the resistance.

In a column dated 1er January published in The Sunday newspaper, Brigitte Henriques, president of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF), apparently pleaded in favor of this “real parity”:

“Sport is lagging behind in terms of gender equality. (…) I was not previously in favor of the notion of quotas and always prefer to talk about objectives, but the experience acquired as a leader has convinced me that if you do not set a course, measurable objectives, Realistic and time-bound, incentive measures quickly show their limits. »

“Do not discourage vocations” (of men)

In fact, the mention of “measurable, realistic and time-bound objectives” justified the Committee’s unfavorable opinion, on December 15, 2021, of the government proposal. He denounced « a binding and prescriptive approach contrary to the autonomy of the federations », invoked “the reality on the ground” and the need to “not to discourage vocations”. That of men.

“The most cynical thing about it is that I hosted a webinar [du CNOSF] from which emerged that where there is no law, there is no parity”, lamented journalist Vanessa Le Moigne. “No measure is more effective than the law in accelerating change”, abounds a forum signed by nearly two hundred personalities.

In the Senate, Thomas Dossus (Europe Ecologie-Les Verts) recalled that the argument of men (of goodwill) penalized by voluntarist measures had already been ritually invoked with regard to the obligations imposed on political parties. Especially since the government’s proposal does not concern the first levels of amateur sport, which are indeed very dependent on voluntary work.

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