French President Hollande Claims Women’s Rights ‘Declining’ in United States

French President Francois Hollande delivers a speech during a meeting as part of the 40th International Women's Day on March 8, 2017, at the French Foreign Affairs Ministry in Paris
AFP/Etienne LAURENT

PARIS (AFP) – French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday spoke out against what he said was a decline in women’s rights in the United States and Russia.

Speaking on International Women’s Day, the French leader said that “threats of backtracking” on women’s rights don’t just come from “emerging nations or countries under dictatorships, but also in developed and rich countries”.

“What about positions or intentions expressed by the new US administration?” he asked.

They would “reduce funding for family planning, as if this is the first cut to be made to allow an increase in military spending,” he added.

Hollande also took aim at Moscow’s policies, pointing out that a law that penalised violence against family members had recently been modified.

“Why would anyone change this text except to once again attack the freedom of women?” he complained.

Hollande, who is coming to the end of his tenure and not standing for re-election, added that in Poland there had recently been protests against attempts to impose a near total ban on abortions.

Such moves to row back on women’s rights stem from “religious fundamentalism” and “the resurgence of reactionary ideologies which intend to reassign women to the procreative role in the domestic sphere,” he said.

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