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French press review 16 August 2017


There's more talk of President Emmanual Macron's plans for the economy in this morning's press, as the government prepares to take on the French system of subsidised employment. Women's intimate health is another talking point, as well as employees' right to "disconnect" after work.

There does not seem to be much summer respite for Le Figaro.

This morning it's politics as usual, as the paper discusses the French government's plan to take on subsidised employment.

This is a system in which the French state encourages employers to take on unskilled workers and young graduates by subsidising part of their contract.

Various types of "contrat aidés" (subsidised contracts) have been used over the last 30 years.

But according to Le Figaro, not only are they very costly for the state - swallowing up three billion euros in 2016 -  they have also only ever brought down unemployment "artificially", without delivering real jobs.

Now President Emmanual Macron wants to revise the whole system, as part of his effort to change the country's social model.

Le Figaro is calling his plan a "clean sweep".

The right-wing paper's editorial agrees that subsidised contracts are a waste of money.

Le Figaro seems to be struggling with an urge to openly praise Macron, as he prepares to tackle an "absurd and costly policy to create fictitious jobs".

But undoing it will not be easy, it says.

The government will have to face criticism from local councils, who often enjoy a subsidised working force, from the left and from young people.

Le Figaro's only hope is that the right do not join in and criticise a reform which it says they should have carried out a long time ago.

Gynaecological violence

There is no mention of politics on Libération's front page.

In fact, there is a picture of a naked body.

The left-leaning paper's main story is an investigation into what they're calling "gynaecological violence".

The issue was raised three weeks ago by the French Secretary of State in charge of gender equality, Marlène Schiappa.

Libération looks into cases where women giving birth have been given episiotomies - a surgical incision to enlarge the opening for the baby to pass through - without their consent.

It also quotes women complaining of bad pain management and humiliating, painful examinations.

A lot of criticism is aimed at doctors.

Support group member Chantal Ducroux-Schouwey says that within the French medical culture, "the doctor is always seen as being in the right when he get out his scissors to perform surgery".

"French doctors do not understand that consent involves a dialogue with the patient," she comments.

Feminist group Gyn&Co is publishing these women's stories on its website, along with a list of doctors who are sensitive to these issues and ready to listen to women.

Time to disconnect?

Catholic daily La Croix has a bright and sunny idea on their front page - Is summer not the perfect time to disconnect from our many electrical devices?

The paper kindly reminds us that since the 1 January, French labour legislation guarantees employees the right to refrain from answering messages and emails when they are not at work.

In its editorial the paper says it will take a long time for people to take advantage of the law, since there are so many incentives to stay glued to our computers or phones.

In just a few years, La Croix says, the digital sphere has changed the way we live, the way we work and the way we relax.

"We are only just beginning to learn how to keep all these digital forms of communication under control," it says. "And that will require some form of personal renunciation of our screens."