When girls learn to play football, it can't be a bad thing. Apart from the fun they may be getting, it is another indication that the world is advancing along the long road to equality.
And so welcome to the news that Dieppe Football Club has decided to launch a feminine section. An invitation has gone out to girls between the ages of six and fifteen to get involved. The aim is to set up a local football school for girls in September.
At present, girls can play in mixed teams until they reach the age of sixteen, then they have to relinquish the game. So the creation of an all-female team is essential to allow them to carry on.
So, a little advance is promised on the football field. But Dieppe women continue to suffer the same inequalities as all French women in other spheres. It is estimated that 80% of domestic tasks are performed by women. And it was revealed recently that, on average, women's pay is 20% below that of men.
In times of economic recession, as now, women come out worst. They are more likely to lose their jobs, which are more often part-time and less protected by labour law.
The advances along the road to equality are slow in a country that did not grant women the right to vote until after the Second World War.
Now, another little breakthrough: the term "mademoiselle" is no longer to appear on administrative forms in France. Every "mademoiselle" in the land is henceforth designated "madame", and her marital status is her own business.
In Britain, we dealt with this problem by inventing the somewhat inelegant - and unprononceable - term Ms. It has to be agreed that to be addressed as "Madame" sounds more impressive.
Of course, women are still widely portrayed in the media as sex objects, and as subsidiaries in a male-dominated society. That's a problem that extends far beyond Dieppe and France.
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