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Céline Cottalorda in action

8 March 2019 - 14h22

Céline Cottalorda, Delegate for the Promotion and Protection of Women’s Rights, explains her role as the committee of the same name, which was established at the end of last November, prepares to meet on 8th March. There are two high-priority issues: wage equality between women and men and the fight against violence.

What are your tasks in the Committee?

My role consists in preparing and driving the work of the Committee and implementing its recommendations for the promotion and protection of women’s rights. The Committee was created because the Government wanted to bring about developments in women’s rights in the Principality. This task has a vast scope, because it involves the fight against violence against women as well as the promotion of equality between men and women, and these are both areas that bring together a number of dimensions (economic, social, philosophical and societal, for example).

Who are the members of the Committee, and how does it work?

The Committee is made up of representatives from the Department of Justice and competent government bodies and a Delegate. It also brings in institutional bodies such as the National Council, City Hall and the High Commissioner for the Protection of Rights and Liberties and for Mediation, as well as representatives of the associations that deal with women’s rights issues. It coordinates, implements and evaluates national policy in the area of equality between women and men and the fight against all forms of violence and discrimination against women. It can gather pertinent data on these topics and analyse them. It is also responsible for developing relationships with its foreign equivalents and engaging in discussions with them. Finally, it tracks recommendations made by the international bodies that guarantee the implementation of UN and Council of Europe Conventions. This is why its President is the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Gilles Tonelli. In practical terms, permanent, regular work will be done with all the actors involved in the form of topic-based working groups. The Committee will meet at least once a year to review the actions that are being taken and to make its recommendations for the implementation of new measures. I would add that it will also be able to call on qualified individuals and experts to assist it with its work.

What of the initial areas in which the Committee foresees becoming involved?

After I began my work, I went to meet all the members of the Committee so that I could acquire a vision of the terrain and discover their needs. This analysis enabled me to highlight a number of areas for improvement. I might mention the expectation that awareness, prevention and training activities will be strengthened. From a legislative standpoint, there will also be a project set up to eradicate certain obsolete wording from our legal texts. Another important area is communications and the provision of information to the general public, which I want to develop with the Committee. We need to give our actions as much visibility as possible.

As regards violence, have you already been able to identify the main types of case in Monaco? Do think the 2011 law needs to be supplemented?

Physical and sexual violence affects all countries and all social classes. Across the world, 35% of women have suffered this type of violence at least once in their lifetimes. Unfortunately, Monaco is not immune to this phenomenon. The AVIP, the Association d’Aide aux Victimes d’Infractions Pénales, which was created in 2014 and does remarkable work to assist victims, makes it possible to identify some of these cases. We need a map that takes account of all the actors involved in the process so that we know precisely what the situation is in Monaco in order to be able to implement the most appropriate public policies. This is the challenge of the study IMSEE was given to do when the Committee was established: to prepare a precise list and provide data on violence in Monaco. This study will be carried out in close collaboration with all the entities concerned (the police, the CHPG, the judicial services, the social services, the High Commissioner and associations). The 2011 law on specific forms of violence is the cornerstone of women’s rights, because it protects them and imposes heavier punishments for violence against them.

You have mentioned equality, and cite a number of areas. Where does the most work need to be done, in your opinion? What is the situation with equal wages?

The issue of wage inequality has been a highly mediatized subject for some time now because it highlights a real injustice. The positive aspect of the situation is that there is greater transparency, which contributes towards the development of the right mentality and facts, I hope. In Europe, the average gap between a man’s and a woman’s salary is in the order of 20%. In Monaco, we need a precise diagnosis here, too, so that we can take the right measures. This is why the Committee has asked IMSEE to carry out a study on wage inequalities in the private and public sectors. It is a major first, and I can tell you that the results are highly anticipated!

How do you view Monaco’s commitment to the defence of women’s interests?

This is an area to which the Principality has been committed for many years, including through its accession to international treaties that defend women’s rights and have the purpose of fighting discrimination against them. The recent modification of the status of heads of household has been put into practice, which is a positive sign of development. With the creation of this Committee, there is the desire to go further. Also, Monaco cannot be insensitive to what is happening in the world, especially with the #MeToo movement, which has freed up women’s speech. This represents a very good opportunity to make advances in this important area.

Noël Mettey

© Direction de la Communication

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