Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has been issued a hefty fine for promoting too many women to senior posts - a punishment she mocked as "absurd" and "unfair".
The French-Spanish politician, who is the first woman to hold the office, breached a national law implemented in 2013 to enforce gender parity in employment.
Under that rule, cited by French newspaper Le Monde in The Guardian, no more than 60 percent of new staffers recruited for management roles could be of one gender.
Hidalgo violated that rule as 11 women and five men were promoted in 2018 - meaning 69 percent of the available jobs went to women.
"I am happy to announce we have been fined," Hidalgo said at a council meeting this week.
The Paris city hall is being fined €90,000 (NZ$154,466) by the public service ministry.
"The management of the city hall has, all of a sudden, become far too feminist," joked Hidalgo, who has been a member of the country's Socialist Party since 1994.
"This fine is obviously absurd, unfair, irresponsible and dangerous."
Responding on Twitter, France's public service minister, Amélie de Montchalin from the ruling La République En Marche party, rebuked the fine as "absurd".
However, the rule was revoked in 2019, she said.
"The cause of women deserves better! We repealed this absurd provision in 2019. I want the fine paid by Paris for 2018 to finance concrete actions to promote women in the public service. I invite you to the ministry to evoke them!" she tweeted in a message to Hidalgo.
In a tweet on Monday (local time), Hidalgo wrote: "11 women, 5 men... The City of Paris was fined 90,000 euros because too many female directors were appointed.
"With my assistants, the directors and the group presidents, we will therefore take this check to the Minister of Public Service."