French politicians propose fines for men who sexually harass women on the street

French officials believe they’ve created a solution to the cat-calling epidemic in France: They’re going to make the harassers pay — literally.

A piece of proposed legislation in France will ask the French government to institute a fine of 90 euros ($111 USD) for anyone heard making lewd comments about females or harassing women in public, according to a report in The Local.

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The fine will be aimed at anyone exhibiting "behavior that is an infringement of the freedom of movement of women in public spaces and undermines self-esteem and the right to security.” These actions may include, but are likely not limited to, following a woman, making loud comments about her body, or blocking her way down the street.

Earlier reports indicated that men could also be fined for wolf-whistling at women, although that wasn’t included in the latest version of the report, The Local notes.

“The point is that the whole of society has to redefine what it will accept and what it will not,” said Marlene Schiappa, France’s junior minister for gender equality, told La Croix shortly after announcing plans to create the new legislation in October, reports Quartz.

marlene schiappa reiuters

French Junior Minister for Gender Equality Marlene Schiappa has spearheaded the proposed legislation.  (Reuters)

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According to The Local, the legislation also proposes that the fine increases to 135 euros ($167 USD) for those who can’t pay immediately, and 375 euros ($465 USD) for those who haven’t paid within 15 days.

The politicians behind the bill were scheduled to present their report Wednesday, though their presentation was reportedly postponed. It will be reviewed by Schiappa, as well as Minister of Justice Nicole Belloubet and Minister of the Interior Gerard Collomb, before it is brought to parliament next week.

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News of the proposal comes amid scrutiny over France’s attitude towards sexual harassment, which became the subject of a debate following accusations of sexual misconduct against actors and filmmakers in Hollywood.