Gender Quotas in the French Bureaucratic Elite. The Soft Power of Restricted Coercion
GB : Palgrave Macmillan
Gender Quotas, Public Administration, Bureaucratic Elite, State Feminism
Drawing on a collective study of gender and executive careers in the French Civil Service, this article provides an account of the genesis and implementation of the gender quota introduced by the 2012 “Sauvadet law” in senior executive positions of the State bureaucracy. First, it shows the crucial, yet unobtrusive, role played by feminist actors in the process, in spite of the absence of any strong open politicization of the issue, from agenda setting to implementation. Second, the article points to the dual character of the reform. On the one hand, the gradual character and limited perimeter of the quota (to senior executive “initial appointments”) restricted its immediate quantitative impact. On the other hand, the constraining, technical dimension of the tool endowed it with a potential to foster incremental social change.