This woman gave birth five days ago.

Keeper of the Seals and Minister of Justice, Rachida Dati leaves the first Cabinet meeting of the year at the Elysee Palace on Wednesday.

Say hello to French Justice Minister Rachida Dati. She is 43 years old, gave birth to her daughter Zohra five days ago via caesarean and on the same day she left the hospital with her baby, she put on this outfit and went back to work to attend a cabinet meeting.

According to reports:

"Pregnancy is not an illness," said Georges-Fabrice Blum, the
vice president of the French gynecologists' association, and there
are no ill effects from a quick return to work.

But woman's groups in France disagreed.

"This is scandalous," said Maya Sturduts from the National
Collective for the Rights of Women.

"Employers can now use this to put pressure on women", she said,
especially during the current tough economic times when employers
may be looking for excuses to cut staff.

Women in France are guaranteed by law 16 weeks of paid maternity
leave, of which 10 weeks are usually taken after the baby's


But the French labour code does not apply to ministers like

Woman's rights activist Florence Montreynaud, a mother of four,
said she was "shocked" by Dati's decision to go back to work so
quickly and stressed that women do need to rest after delivery.

The European Commission has recommended that maternity leave be
extended to 18 weeks, saying it would help families in Europe
better organise their new lives with a baby.

Three French women ministers have had babies on the job before,
including Sarkozy's defeated rival for the presidency Segolene
Royal, when she was environment minister in the 1990s.

Recently, Spain's defence minister Carme Chacon took six week's
leave after giving birth to her first child, a boy named
Miquel. Dati, who is single, has kept the father's identity under wraps,
telling reporters she had "a complicated private life" and sparking
an intense guessing game in the French press.

President Nicolas Sarkozy paid a warm tribute to the "young
mother" Dati during the cabinet meeting.

"Rachida has always said that to be a mother was the greatest of
happinesses, but at the same time that she had important duties
that she would continue to fulfil," government spokesman Luc Chatel
told reporters.

I take several things away from this story. Like the fact that Sarkozy refers to a 43-year-old woman as a 'young mother' proves that European men seem to value older women as being sexy and not past it once they reach 25. I also take away a sense of sadness for both the mother and the baby that they weren't able to cherish the post birth bubble before she pulled on those stockings and shoe-horned herself into a pencil skirt and heels (note strategically placed folder but still, this really is the French equivalent of leaving hospital in a pair of teeny tiny jeans).

But mostly? I am outraged. Outraged that she is not wearing a bikini. Come on. It's been five whole days. How slack is that…..

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