Rather Antigone than Colombia.
To the heroine of Mérimée, of which her mother of Corsican origin is the true portrait, Valérie Pécresse prefers the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta.
“Antigone is the woman who resists, the insolence of youth.
I was that kind of teenager, sassy with a lot of chatter.
I pissed my father off.
But I was raised in a fusional and Mediterranean family where confrontation through language was very important.
Let's be honest. From the outset, we did not imagine the LR candidate for the Elysee Palace draped in the toga of Antigone by Sophocles. “It's true, mom is always accused of being cold. My friends always say that before meeting her, they had the image of a bourgeois Catholic, a little stiff. Then, they discover that we are rather funny in the family and that mom has things to say, ”says Émilie Pécresse. "I'm 18 years old. I have always been proud of my mother, of her career. But that was his job. On the other hand, when the results of the primary fell and she was appointed to carry the LR presidential candidacy, I exploded. I was so grateful that a woman was elected and that it was also my mother”.
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For Emilie, raised with Barbara's songs playing in the background and fed by Bette Davis in Valérie Pécresse's cult film
All About Eve
, supporting her mother is obvious.
“The best publicity for parents is their children,” she proclaims.
So, the young girl in the preparatory class does not hesitate to appear publicly to affirm that yes, a woman can succeed “in her professional life and preserve a healthy family environment.
My parents are still together after all these years, we are very close.
This commitment to the balance of women, by allowing them to reconcile work and private life, is one of the political drivers of the candidate for the Élysée.
She dedicated her primary victory to her mother and grandmothers.
“Strong women, with strong character, that society has set aside.
My mother stopped her studies when my brother was born.
She always wanted me to work, it was very anchored in her, as if she transferred to me her desire for emancipation and autonomy.
My grandmother had been a pediatrician.
It was not nothing for a woman born in 1920. But like my grandfather
(the psychiatrist Louis Bertagna, Editor's note)
worked a lot, she had to put an end to her activity to raise their five children.
She always told me: "You have to work".
Ditto for Marie, the Corsican matriarch, nicknamed Mémé.
She had only the certificate of studies but hammered out the same antiphon.
I felt this desire in all these women who were very dependent on their husbands.
Is it to honor the interrupted dreams of his female line? The reserved but precocious little girl, to whom her mistress had declared: “If you remain so shy, you will not get your baccalaureate”, devoted her time to surpassing herself. “I learned to read very young before entering school. At the time the teachers wanted me to skip two classes. My parents refused, saying that I didn't have the maturity, that it would be too hard for me to live. They were right. Even skipping a class is difficult. I have always been the youngest, including at ENA. But, with my six uncles and aunts on my father's side, five on my mother's side, plus a host of cousins, we had to assert ourselves.
In the pantheon of the former student of Sainte-Marie de Neuilly, there is therefore also Diane, the huntress. “In ninth grade, each of us had to choose a mythological character who represented us. Me, it was Diane for her independence. Valérie the rebellious, Valérie the gifted. But also Valérie, the faithful friend. Fabienne Chol
(deputy director general in charge of the human resources division at the Île-de-France Regional Council, editor's note)
recalls: “We were 13 years old.
I had just arrived in Paris, I felt a little out of place in Sainte-Marie, a closed environment, half-Harry Potter, half-snobs and smarties.
Valerie was quite the opposite.
In Russian class, both tall, we were put at the back of the class.
She was very natural, very open, curious about everything, super funny and, three academic heads above everyone without making a fuss of it.
Still a class representative, because she had adult relationships with the teachers.
She dedicated her primary victory to her mother and grandmothers
"Ah, are you friends with Valérie?", the other girls wondered, as if they didn't believe that I, the provincial, could be friends with the best in class.
I was aware of her originality, of the freedom of thought that reigned in her, of her Gaullist family environment, of her lively mother.
Fabienne and Valérie become inseparable.
They even went to the enthronement of François Mitterrand at the Panthéon, fell in love with the figures who imposed themselves in the media and culture in the mid-1980s, such as Christine Ockrent, Emmanuelle Béart, Carolyn Carlson or even Catherine Ringer .
The women who made the ENA
The women who made the ENA - Ségolène Royal
Ségolène Royal, a graduate of the ENA in 1980, is the first French woman to have reached the second round of a presidential election.
(Parempuyre, February 5, 2020.)
The women who made the ENA - Florence Parly
A graduate of the ENA in 1985, Florence Parly is the current Minister of the Armed Forces.
(Paris, July 10, 2019.)
The women who made the ENA - Brigitte Grésy
Brigitte Grésy, a graduate of ENA in 1989, has been the president of the High Council for Equality between Women and Men since 2019. (Paris, January 26, 2021.)
The women who made the ENA - Catherine Démier
Catherine Démier has been the general director of the Cannes Film Festival since 2005. She graduated from the ENA in 1992. (Paris, April 20, 2006.)
The women who made the ENA - Valérie Pécresse
The women who made the ENA - Kareen Rispal
The women who made the ENA - Emmanuelle Wargon
The women who made the ENA - Chantal Jouanno
The women who made the ENA - Agnès Pannier-Runacher
The women who made the ENA - Sibyle Veil
The women who made the ENA - Yvette Chassagne
The women who made the ENA - Françoise Chandernagor
The women who made the ENA - Hélène Gisserot
The women who made the ENA - Élisabeth Guigou
The women who made the ENA - Martine Aubry
The women who made the ENA - Fleur Pellerin
The women who made the ENA - Delphine d'Amarzit
The women who made the ENA - Constance Rivière
See the slideshow
A brilliant young woman who passed from HEC to ENA, from which she graduated second in 1992 (Condorcet promotion), Valérie Roux, who became Pécresse by her marriage in 1994 to the polytechnician Jérôme Pécresse, joined the Council of State, where she remained for eight year. She experiences her first disappointment there. Passionate about cinema, she applied to become deputy director of the National Cinema Center (CNC). Dismissed because pregnant. “What is the problem in women's careers? Me, I lived it in my flesh. I'm in politics because I was denied my dream job. It happened to me a second time for the same reasons when the Deputy General Secretariat of the Council of State opened. "Ah la la! It's not going to be possible", I was told. But I don't victimize myself. Because, the third time, it was the opposite.Michel Gentot offered me the position of government commissioner (now public rapporteur) at the Council of State. There, I warned him right away, "Listen, I'm pregnant". His repartee was without appeal: "You do not believe all the same that it will influence?" Not only was I hired, but he forced a man to do my interim, that had never been seen.
I was aware of her originality, of the freedom of thought that reigned in herFabienne Chol, a childhood friend
On these issues of gender equality and setting an example, many of them recognize that they owe him a lot.
“Valérie has played a huge role in my career, recognizes the MEP and one of the six spokespersons for the LR campaign, Agnès Evren.
When she called me in 2015 to be vice-president of the Ile de France regional council in charge of culture and education, a delegation with an exorbitant budget of one billion euros, I did not prepared: "Frankly Valérie, it's too much!"
"Ah, there you go, she scolded, the glass ceiling again! A man would never have answered me like you, he would have taken the card without saying anything. Have confidence. I offer you the function, because you are capped for that"."
Valérie is my mentor, a godmotherAlexandra Dublanche, vice-president of the Île-de-France region
Same speech from another new figure on the right, Alexandra Dublanche: “Valérie is my mentor, a godmother, we do not often meet someone who encourages, remotivates, helps.
She is a model for all young women who get involved, because she succeeded in politics while preserving her family.
Not only does she identify talents, highlight them, but she is concerned about our personal balance”, enthuses this very close to the candidate and pivot of the presidential campaign, in charge of the organization of the support committees, with Gérard Larcher and Laurent Wauquiez, and the response cell, with Julien Aubert.
A campaign staff whose first circle nevertheless appears very masculine. “It's unfair to say that, annoys Valérie Pécresse. They reproach me for having twelve advisers, all men. They are the pillars of my political family. They are there, in their capacity, I cannot wipe them off the map. However, wherever I have the possibility of naming, that is to say where it is I who choose, I will look for female talent. I have 50 women in my organization chart. I try to instill them everywhere, to give them confidence, to make them rise and grow. But I am the heiress of a story where the characters who have responsibilities on the right are all men.
And, for candidate LR to count the four “musketeers”, three group presidents, two party presidents … “I myself suffered from having so few exemplary figures on the right. Apart from Simone Veil and Michèle Alliot-Marie, there were hardly any women to pierce.
There she is, Simone Veil. A black and white photo. Almost the only image in evidence in the office on rue Torricelli, in Paris, where Valérie Pécresse has set up her HQ, nicknamed La Fabrique. Simone Veil had taken Jacques Chirac's young adviser under her wing at the end of the 1990s, inviting her several times to dinner with their respective husbands. “Antoine gave advice to Jérôme”, laughs Valérie Pécresse, who adopted one of the recommendations given by her eldest, a technique called “duck feathers”. Either let the critics slide to prevent them from reaching you. A very useful method during the two ministerial mandates under Nicolas Sarkozy. Obviously, the one who is on the rise today within the LR caciques was not part of the "
of President Sarkozy, recalls his friend Fabienne Chol.
In video, Simone Veil, icon of the Republic
“It is true that with him, it was necessary to attract the light, to make the buzz. He was a precursor at this level, summarizes Christine Albanel, former Minister of Culture and Communication. Nicolas Sarkozy spent his time criticizing his ministers, especially women. He was not tender. Some were very exposed. I was part of it, like Christine Lagarde and Valérie Pécresse. We pulled together, we were united. Our files, not easy. I had Hadopi and the audiovisual law, Valérie, the university reform. She told me about the pitfalls she faced. I admired her. But she went there working hard, knowing what she wanted. As for her conquest of the region, when she had all of Sarkozie in front of her. His success in the LR primary should help him get out of his shell.These are things that happen when you feel loved,” concludes Christine Albanel.
Of her electoral successes, Valérie Pécresse, keen on boxing, admiring the French champions Estelle Mossely and Sarah Ourahmoune, speaks in terms of "fights".
Fierce struggles that she claims to have won by herself.
“My whole career has been made by being elected.
I never got a job by being chosen.
A big difference, according to her, with leading figures who have been named, such as the Vice-President of the United States, Kamala Harris, or the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
My whole career has been made by being elected.
I never got a job by being chosenValérie Pécresse
Margaret Thatcher and Angela Merkel, these are two women in whom she recognizes herself. “They defended their country and their people tooth and nail. Margaret Thatcher has shown a brutality of which I would be incapable and Angela Merkel has taken decisions of which I do not approve. But I feel close to them for the extremely tough political battles they fought and the almost maternal side in their way of taking things head on.
Compare yourself to Angela Merkel, a leitmotiv now among political tenors. "Necessarily. Sixteen years in power and leaving responsibilities at the height of popularity, it makes everyone dream, analyzes journalist Marion Van Renterghem. Especially in France where it is a counter-example to what we are. That is to say this modesty, this absence of lyricism and untimely promises, this immutable style. French biographer of the former German chancellor, she was asked in 2017 for a book of interviews (1) with the one who had just freed herself from her party to create Libertés!. Marion Van Renterghem began by refusing the order. “Then, this name aroused a desire. The fact that she was a woman,at a time when the time for women had come and she was the only one on the right with a line that had remained very clear until then vis-à-vis the RN, like Chirac with the FN”.
I feel close to Margaret Thatcher and Angela for the extremely tough political battles they wagedValérie Pécresse
From there to endorse the comparison with Angela Merkel, the journalist refuses.
“Angela Merkel is so unique.
What is certain is that she is a woman and that she fought in a macho environment.
They have that in common.
Angela faced the male phallocrats of the CDU, the conservative party, and Valérie Pécresse had a hard time in the UMP, which became LR.
Obviously, it strengthens the spine.
Otherwise, I think they share certain qualities, team spirit and consistency of character.
Well, it ends there.
Because this moral course, which Merkel developed as the daughter of a pastor and the fact that she lived under the dictatorship, is not at all comparable.
Witness the way in which Valérie Pécresse juggles today with the extreme lines of her party.
In a glass frame, the poster of "Yoda, may the force be with you" was placed on the ground, in full view next to the candidate's work table.
On the right wall, the face of Jean Gabin, weathered by age and blows in
(1961), by Henri Verneuil.
But tonight, Valérie Pécresse is worried about another poster, that of
The story of a mother and her hyperactive son.
“Have you seen this film? Asks candidate LR.
He overwhelmed me…” During removals, it happens that objects that are particularly important disappear.
Did the poster for Xavier Dolan's film get lost?
Valérie Pécresse uses her collection of posters to convey messages.
Found in the hallway,
will hang there as if to hold the drama at the door.
But in a spontaneous burst of handyman, she seizes another fetish frame:
Girls Can Do It,
autographed by Spike Lee.
With a firm hand, she hangs it right above the couch where she sits.
It's said, written, affirmed: women can do it.
“Life is an adventure, dare it”, predicted Mother Teresa.
Valérie Pécresse has made this prayer of her muse her own.
And that's what changed everything,
Éditions Robert Laffont, 336 pages, €20.
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Valérie Pécresse curbs sexism in politics: "Everything is done to make us feel guilty"