Saturday, April 5, 2014

France: Paris' First Female Mayor, 54, Says "Parity is on the March"

According to The Associated Press, the first female mayor of Paris has taken office, hailing a "great advance for all women," saying she feels the weight of responsibility in her new job.

Spanish-born Anne Hidalgo, 54, donned the red, white and blue mayoral sash Saturday (April 5) after at a City Hall vote enshrining her victory in the capital as part of nationwide municipal elections on March 30.

COMMENT: Hidalgo noted on France's TF1 television that very few women were mayors of major world cities, but her victory shows "no citadel is impregnable for women" and "parity is on the march."

The low-key Spanish-born Hidalgo takes over from ex-Mayor Bernard Delanoe, her longtime mentor and a fellow Socialist for whom she was the top deputy during his thirteen-year tenure. He didn't seek a new term.

Anne "Ana" Hilalgo has been a member of the Socialist Party since 1994. Mayor-elect Hidalgo was the first deputy mayor of Paris under Bertrand Delanoe (March 2001-March 2014). She was elected as a Councillor in 2001 for the XVe arrondissement and ran for Mayor of Toulouse in the French municipal elections in 2008.

Hidalgo was born at San Fernando, near Cadiz, in Andalucia, Spain. Her paternal grandfather was a Spanish Socialist who became a refugee in France after the end of the Spanish Civil War, along with his wife and his four children. 

In the late 1950s, he married and had two daughters, Ana (Anne) and María (Marie). However, due to the difficult economic climate in Spain during this period, Hidalgo's parents migrated, this time as economic immigrants to France. They settled in Lyon in 1961, with their two daughters.

The Mayor-elect grew up in Lyon, speaking Spanish with her parents and French with her sister. Her parents have returned to Spain, while her elder sister, Marie, manages a firm in Los Angeles, CA.

Hidalgo graduated with a degree in Social Work before completing a DEA in Social and Trade Unionism at Paris West University Nanterre La Défense, the equivalent of ABD at the doctoral level. 

The mother of three children is divorced and has remarried.