As much as I may disagree with certain policies and comments by Nicolas Sarkozy, he has always impressed me with his drive to modernize France and make it an all inclusive society. When he presented his new cabinet, it was a radical change from the past. Now, he’s is refusing the initial annual honors list and demanding new faces from all backgrounds. This kind of change is long overdue. More on his campaign of diversity, after the jump.
Ministers are hurriedly working on new lists for the Légion d’Honneur, awarded to “eminent” French and foreign citizens, and the Ordre Nationale du Mérite, awarded for “distinguished” achievement. Announcements are expected in the next few days.
In the case of the country’s second ranking honour, the Ordré du Merite, the new list, already almost two months overdue, is expected to include equal numbers of men and women for the first time. The list of recipients of the Légion d’Honneur, which was due on 1 January, may not be equally balanced but will contain more women than ever before. In future, President Sarkozy has made it clear, he wants to see parity between the sexes in the award of honours.
According to the newspaper Le Monde, President Sarkozy was also unhappy that the proposed lists contained too many civil servants and politicians and, implicitly, too many white people. He has asked for candidates who reflect “French diversity” and more people from businesses and charitable associations.
Overall, of 1,340 new nominations to the order, less than a third were women.