One of the highest ranking members of the UDF, Hervé Morin, has announced that he will be voting for UMP candidate Nicolas Sarkozy. The rest of the UDF camp repeated that this does not signal that Bayrou is violating his neutrality, but that each voter is free to make his or her choice.
Other than that it's been a slow news day so far, so here's some snippets from a Boston Globe op-ed written by a female professor at MIT. She concludes that femininity and power "are still incompatible in many parts of the world," and that Segolene Royals a victim.
Indeed, if any woman is to reach the highest office, it should be Ségolène Royal, for she corresponds to a French national archetype of femininity. In a new book the writer Michele Sarde details how this young woman from the provinces represents a subtle mixture of traditional France (with her similarities to great feminine figures such as Joan of Arc) and the rebellious modernity of Simone de Beauvoir. She is an educated woman who has always worked. With her partner, Francois Hollande, she has shared both private responsibilities (they have four children together) and political visions (he is the secretary of the Socialist Party).
So where are the feminists who should be celebrating this historic occasion and protesting the sexist attacks on the first serious woman candidate for the French presidency? A petition entitled "1 million women have had enough!" -- objecting to the way Royal has been treated -- has gathered only 17,000 signatures. "Feminism" remains a taboo word in France.
Femininity and power are still incompatible in many parts of the world. I say this with a glance toward this side of the Atlantic, where the first serious woman candidate for president has endured petty, unfair criticism in areas ranging from her hair style to her marriage. So while women are gaining political power around the world , the bad news is that they still often find themselves blocked by unrealistic expectations and intractable gender stereotypes. Royal's experience may reflect not just a "French exception," but also a more global reality.