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France’s Parliament Now Has More Women than Ever

June 20, 2017, 11:26 AM UTC
Supporters wave French national flags ahead of a speech by Emmanuel Macron, near the Louvre museum in Paris, on May 7, 2017.
french election record number of women parliament
Bloomberg via Getty Images

France elected a record number of women to its Parliament in Sunday’s second round of parliamentary voting.

Women now fill 223 of the 577 positions in the National Assembly, the French lower house of Parliament, the BBC reports. That’s nearly 39% — a significant jump from the country’s previous record of 26% of female MPs elected in 2012, according to data from the Inter-parliamentary Union.

The record-breaking total follows President Emmanuel Macron and his Republic on the Move (LREM) party choosing an equal number of women and men for its initial list of 428 candidates last month. Macron’s party emerged with a sweeping 308-seat majority on Sunday, of which 47% of the newly elected deputies are women — the highest majority out of all the parties.

“For the first time under the (postwar) Fifth Republic, the National Assembly will be deeply renewed — more diverse, younger,” LREM Acting President Catherine Barbaroux told Reuters. “But above all, allow me to rejoice, because this is a historic event for the representation of women in the National Assembly.”

When stacked up against other parliaments in the world in terms of gender diversity, France just moved from 64th to 17th place. It also jumped to sixth place for Europe, now beating out Germany and Britain, according to Reuters.

This follows Macron’s commitment to gender equality on his team. The newly elected French president made his cabinet gender-equal last month when he selected women for 11 of the 22 positions.