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4:34 p.m. and 7 seconds. That's the time thousands of French women are expected to walk out of their jobs today, and call it a year.

Led by the feminist group Les Glorieuses, an estimated 4,500 people will be protesting the fact that "at 4:34pm (and 7 seconds) on November 7, women will effectively be working ‘voluntarily'." The calculation is based on recent data from the European Union's statistics agency Eurostat, which shows that women in France earn 15.1% less than men. Hence the group's decision to make up for the discrepancy by calling it quits 15.1% of the year earlier.

France is hardly the world's worst in gender inequality, ranking 17th, according to the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF), but the pay gap remains a major issue.

The strike, backed by both France's Education and Women's Rights ministers, follows a similar move in Iceland on Oct. 24. that drove thousands of workers, women and men alike, into the streets to protest the country's gender pay gap.

Writing for French daily Le Monde, Angela Montoya notes that this protest is part of a new wave of women-led demonstrations against what she calls: "... the resurgence of retrograde conservatism, from Donald Trump's sexism to attempts to ban abortion in Poland."

Linking the strike to a precise calculation of the salary inequality makes for some rather potent symbolism. On that note, the WEF recently calculated that at the current (slow) rate of improvement, salary parity between the sexes wouldn't be achieved until 2186. Expect plenty more protests between now and then.

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Mariateresa Fichele

Fifteen years ago, Francesco kept busy by scamming people. He was a regular visitor to the beaches of Terracina, south of Rome, where he was caught several times selling counterfeit Ray-Ban sunglasses. Then came the drugs, which fed a serious substance-induced psychosis and eventually he tested positive for HIV.

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