United Nations Public Service Award Winners


Initiative: Balanced Appointments in Senior Public Service Leadership


Institution: Directorate General of Administration and Public Service


Problem: The status of civil servants in France is based on the equal treatment of its employees both in terms of recruitment and career development. But in March 2011, when Mrs. Françoise Guégot, Member of Parliament, presented a report on "Gender Equality in the Public Service" to the President of the French Republic, it showed persistent inequality in wage levels and women's access to management positions in the public service. As of 31st December 2012, women accounted for almost 61 per cent of the 5 million public service employees, but they still faced a "glass ceiling" that severely limited their access to senior positions. In 2011, women accounted for only 21 per cent of those appointed to management positions in the territorial administration of the State, whereas in central administration, the 11 general secretaries of ministries were all men. In 2012, of the senior posts left to the decision of the Government, only 16 of the 127 territorial prefect posts, 9 of the 30 rector posts and 30 of the 193 ambassador posts were held by women.


Solution: Balanced appointments in senior management of the public service came into effect on January 1, 2013 with a first level of at least 20 per cent of new appointments of each gender. The law aims to ensure a more balanced representation of each gender within the senior civil service, placing priority on recruiting for senior positions of the state, local authorities, certain hospitals and social establishments. The objective is to achieve an annual rate of 40 per cent of "first-time" individuals of each gender (i.e. non-renewal appointments on the same job or appointment within the same category). Thus, for the 2013 and 2014, the rate is 20 per cent. For 2015 and 2016, it will be 30 per cent and finally for 2017, 40 per cent. A gradual increase in gender diversity of first-time appointments is planned to prepare each employer to achieve this objective. The minimum share of first-time nominations of women and men is assessed at every level - ministerial department of the State, each territorial unit for the territorial civil service and all the posts of senior management for the public hospital unit. In the event of non-compliance with the numerical objective, the law requires that the employer pay a financial contribution of the amount proportional to the number of missing units, i.e. the number of individual nominations needed to meet the minimum rate requirement.


Impact: An evaluation conducted in 2013 showed that out of 886 first-time appointments to senior management positions, 33 per cent involved women, a figure well above the legal requirement. In August 2014, a rate of feminization for the first appointments on managerial jobs was 33 per cent. In 2014, the rate of feminization for first-time appointments on "management" jobs was 34 per cent. The results of the evaluation were communicated to employers, administration, Parliament and citizens. The requirement of diversity at the heart of the government, especially senior and executive positions, was emphasized.



Category 4:

Promoting Gender-Responsive Delivery of Public Services


Related SDGs: 










Europe, North America and Others Group


More information: 

Balanced Appointments in Senior Public Service Leadership

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