International Handbook on Diversity Management at Work

International Handbook on Diversity Management at Work

Country Perspectives on Diversity and Equal Treatment

Elgar original reference

Edited by Alain Klarsfeld

Managing and developing diversity is on the political and business agenda in many countries; therefore diversity management has become an area of knowledge and practice in its own right. Yet all too often it is referred to as a unifying concept, as if it were to be interpreted uniformly across all cultures and countries. The contributors to this volume expertly examine the relationship between diversity management and equality legislation within the different participating countries’ national contexts. They advocate that such separation and sequencing between equality at work and diversity management is far from natural.

Chapter 5: Equality and Diversity in the French Context

Anne-Françoise Bender, Alain Klarsfeld and Jacqueline Laufer

Subjects: business and management, diversity and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour


Anne-Françoise Bender, Alain Klarsfeld and Jacqueline Laufer Introduction For a few years now, a national debate has emerged in France around the notion of diversity and to some extent about the issue of diversity as a ‘business case’. While the issue of equal opportunity between men and women had been on the agenda for many years, diversity, and specifically the dimension of ethnic diversity, has come forward in the public debate only in recent years, as a result of an increasing awareness of the difficulties and shortcomings linked to the French model of equality and integration of immigrants and their descendants. Indeed, in France, contrary to the USA and the UK, the issues of equal opportunity and of diversity have developed recently as a result of a new awareness of the difficulties of the French model of equality based on equality of rights for all citizens. Formal equality of rights, according to the republican model, was originally based on a denial of any differences between citizens. The central issue has been for a long time the implementation of equality between men and women, which has its roots in the French Revolution of 1789, and in the French Declaration of Human and Citizens’ Rights (Déclaration des Droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen), which excluded women from the citizenship rights granted to men: liberty and equality (Fraisse, 1995). While ethnic diversity was supposed to be dealt with by the model of integration of all individual citizens in the Republic, transcending...

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