As some of you may be aware, France’s UMP party (which currently holds power) has recently initiated a debate about defining France’s national identity. I will avoid wading into the motivations and arguments on the various sides of the debate, but the national identity checklist started me thinking about the role of female entrepreneurs in France. Below is the checklist as reported in Le Figaro yesterday. Point #5 in particular triggered my thinking:
- Creation of a special commission dedicated to the topic of national identity.
- Production of a “young citizen’s handbook” for children to carry with them (no it’s not a joke).
- Creation of a mandatory day of civic awareness and/or service.
- Placement of symbols of the Republic in schools (flags, declaration of the rights of man, annual singing of the Marseillaise).
- Education of foreigners on France’s values, notably language and history, and in particular, “Gender equality will be presented as a fundamental value.”
- Drafting of a charter of French rights and obligations to which all naturalized citizens must adhere.
Brad Feld submits that this is more than just a gender equality issue, and I think that in the case of France his assertion also holds true. This is about innovation, competitiveness, and company creation in France too.