Movement created by #Metoo is just a starting point
Journalism and the Empowerment of Women: New Challenges in the Digital World
CSW63 Side Event, organized by the UN Group of Friends for the Protection of Journalists
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
14 March 2019
Thank you so much Minister,
Bonjour à tous,
Together with Lithuania and Greece, France is very proud to co-host this event and to welcome all of you today. I’m glad to see there is such a success for this event. I’d also like to thank Reporters Without Borders – with a special word of appreciation to his head Christophe Deloire who is here with us this afternoon -, the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Women’s Media Foundation for co-sponsoring this important event with us.
I am especially proud because this is the first time that this topic of “women and the digital media” is being addressed at the United Nations (…). As we all know, online abuse can be very intrusive and invasive. Our distinguished panelists will speak about it. That’s why we need to promote a zero tolerance policy and to be ambitious. In this respect, I’d like to emphasize 3 points :
1) First of all, the movement that was created by the hashtags #Metoo and #balanceTonPorc in France is just a starting point, it’s just a beginning and it is unprecedented. The French hashtag #balanceTonPorc for example is almost impossible to translate but the idea is to expose on the internet those who have harassed female subordinates in the work place, and I’m sure that Sandra Müller will be able to elaborate on this later.
Our briefers are going to share their experience and discuss the consequences of this new online trend, but we know they are far-reaching. In France, the US and many other parts of the world, this discussion is triggering a change of behavior, that could translate into real social change. After the outrage that followed the disclosure of an extensive pattern of harassment against women in the media industry in France under the destructive hashtag #LigueDuLol (the #leagueOftheLOL), major French media outlets are taking action and no later than yesterday voluntarily signed a common charter, at the French Ministry of culture, in order to prevent such practices and to put an end to sexism in their companies. I think it is a very important movement that has started here.
2) Number two, and I’ll be brief on this one, there should be no impunity for violations of women’s rights. Impunity is not an option. Visibility and exposure should lead to accountability. This is key to ensuring women’s empowerment and gender equality.
3) Number three, the use of digital media in a safer environment can help improve the representation of women in the media. Let’s see things in a positive way: this can create a virtuous circle. Strengthening women’s voices in the media will promote day after day women’s empowerment in the work place everywhere, and increase awareness of women’s rights. And again new media can have a multiplier effect but in a positive way this time.
Finally, you can count on France’s commitment at the international level to promote this constructive agenda - including through the Group of Friends for the protection of journalists, but also through the Group of Friends to eliminate sexual harassment, that together with a couple of other countries we launched at the French Mission a few weeks ago. And a few minutes earlier, together with our Minister for Gender Equality, Marlène Schiappa, who is in New York today, we had another meeting of this Group of Friends to eliminate sexual harassment, the first at ministerial level. This is part of a true “feminist diplomacy” that France is proud to promote, with others of course, here in New York.
At the national level, we are also working with online platforms to eliminate online gender based violence. To give you just an example, a French law criminalizing collective cyberharassment came into force last summer.
This is why, my dear friends, it is so important to hold this discussion and I hope we will jointly propose practical guidelines for the benefit of women. In this fight, you can count on me, you can count on the French Mission here, but more importantly you can count on President Macron, on Ministers Le Drian and Schiappa, the whole French government because this is our common fight. And if we are together, we will win this battle.