Fillon apologises

Fillon apologises

On 06 Feb 16, Francois Fillon the Centre-Right, Les Republicans candidate for the French Presidential election apologized over making payments to family members for parliamentary work. However, he claimed that the practice was legal; but since the French people no longer accepted the practice, he acknowledged it was a mistake.

Do the contributions of spouses deserve compensation? 

On 06 Feb 16, Francois Fillon the Centre-Right, Les Republicans candidate for the French Presidential election apologized over making payments to family members for parliamentary work. However, he claimed that the practice was legal; but since the French people no longer accepted the practice, he acknowledged it was a mistake.

Media reports claim that his Welsh wife Penelope Fillon had earned US$ 900,000, as her husband’s Parliamentary secretary, between 1998-2012 (14 years). It subsequently emerged that he had also hired two of his five children, to act as lawyers, paying them US$ 89,900 between 2005-07, when they were still students. The payments were made from Public funds that were allotted to Francoise Fillon, for Parliament work.

Hiring of family members is legal for French MPs and is not against Parliamentary rules, as long as the person is genuinely employed. However, some newspapers claim it had been unable to track down anyone, who had seen evidence of Penelope Fillon’s work.

What are the Unrecognized Contributions of Women?

In societies around the world, the contributions of home-makers, mostly women, more often goes unrecognized. The failure to give credit to home-makers has taken a toll; and many young educated women prefer employment to home-making. This has also resulted in higher failures of marriage and even threatens the traditional family system. The need to recognize and respect women’s contributions is increasingly being felt, in egalitarian societies.

Besides home-making, spouses of responsible appointments take additional responsibilities; such as entertainment of guests, making contributions for worker support, support for educational programs and provision of special needs. In most armed forces, wives are also called upon to provide assistance for wounded soldiers, provide emotional support to families in times of grief, provide assistance to children with special needs and assist with the supervision of educational institutions. Normally, there are no provisions to compensate women for these deserving contributions, as the assistance is provided in the ex-offico capacity of being the spouse of a person holding an appointment. Most armed forces officers while acknowledging this contribution may also admit that compensation is normally only words of gratitude.

Spouses in general but those of important appointments in particular, have a greater responsibility in maintaining the harmonious and conducive environment that brings out the best in human beings. While it may be an exaggeration to quote, ‘behind every successful man is a woman’, women at home can play an important role in creating the vibrant and inspiring environment for family success.

Assessment

Francoise Fillon has done well in admitting to the payments and in drawing attention to the larger issue of compensation for women’s contributions. The French Parliamentary rules that permits payments to family members, has been drafted with meaning and substance. It would be a shame, if France were to make amendments to keep up with a world that has lost respect for the home-maker. It is hoped that for France, known for their independent opinions and respected for their sensitivities, will prevail and strengthen the position of women in families.

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