London: MPs in France were plunged into a sexism row after newly appointed Minister of Territory Equality and Housing Cecile Duflot was leered at in the Parliament.
Duflot had been barraged with wolf-whistles and yells of “Phwoarr” when she stood up in a summery dress and high heels.
The 37-year-old minister was subjected to the abuse as she tried to make a speech to the National Assembly in Paris.
She began, “Ladies and gentlemen,” then added, “Obviously, more gentlemen than ladies...” but her words were drowned out by the whistles.
“I have worked in the building trade and I have never seen anything like that. This tells you something about our MPs. I just think of their wives,” the Sun quoted the minister, a former town planner who once wore jeans to a Cabinet meeting, as saying.
Members of the Union for a Popular Movement the party of ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy were widely blamed for this incident.
A video of the incident caused outrage, with many saying that it highlighted the shortcomings of the political class.
Anger increased when MP Patrick Balkany, a close pal of Sarkozy, said that Duflot had put on the knee-length floral dress “so we wouldn’t listen to what she was saying.”
Women’s Rights Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said that sexism had no frontiers and that they should set a better example.
First Published: Saturday, July 21, 2012, 13:58