I have had a different experience. In a decade representing a large US multinational beverage company with extensive interests in Europe, the French law firms were oft represented by searingly brilliant women.My wife is French and I've lived in the country roughly half of the last 10 years. Based on my experience I'd say people should not be surprised. In terms of respect for professional women France is very much in the dark ages
Not that it is relevant but their style and charisma was also exceptional.