The Feminization of an Established Profession: The Case of Notaries in France.

Friday, 20 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Corinne DELMAS, University of Nantes, CENS, France
Ten thousand notaries appointed by the Ministry of Justice are working now in France with a status inherited from the former venality of offices. The traditional way of entering into this liberal profession was for the aspiring notary to be presented to the supervisory entities by the assigning notary, who receives a price corresponding to this right of access. As a result, the labor market for notaries is not very open and is dominated by a patrimonial conception of the trade. Women have suffered in particular from a weak access to the profession that has long been male oriented. Nevertheless, the advancement of the wage-earning system favored their entry into the notarial profession. By 2014, nearly 34% of notaries are women, yet they only constitute 30% of the notaries who are partners but 65% of the salaried or wage labor notaries. However, the increase in women in the notary profession still faces a glass ceiling and even resistance. I will discuss during my presentation the entry of women into wage labor; the fact that the notaries "corps" is now feminized; the existence of a glass ceiling. The effects of the current reform of the profession by the "Macron" law of 6 August 2015 have also to be called into questioned. If the introduction of a retirement age could accelerate the departure of mainly male populations, and if the increase in the number of offices and notaries is expected to increase the flow of entry into the notary profession, several obstacles remain, however. Finally, the reform reinforces the competitive logic and promotes liberalization that can just as easily promote female entrepreneurship as generating gendered segregation logics. It also provokes resistance in the profession and reform projects which are liable to promote as to limit the feminization of the profession...