• France edition
 
France lifts 200-year-old trouser ban on women
From now on women in Paris will no longer flout the law if they wear a pair of trousers. Photo:Leather fashion fashionista

France lifts 200-year-old trouser ban on women

Published: 04 Feb 2013 11:48 GMT+01:00
Updated: 04 Feb 2013 15:30 GMT+01:00

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, France's minister of women's rights, said in a statement that the ban, imposed on November 17, 1800, was incompatible with modern French values and laws.

The municipal order required Parisian women to seek permission from local police if they wanted to "dress like a man" by wearing trousers.

It was modified in 1892 and 1909 to allow women to wear trousers if they were "holding a bicycle handlebar or the reins of a horse" but had officially remained on the books.

GALLERY: Five great French women that France forgot

Answering a question in the Official Journal of the French Senate,Vallaud-Belkacem said that while it had not been formally struck down, the order was in effect abrogated.

"This order was aimed first of all at limiting the access of women to certain offices or occupations by preventing them from dressing in the manner of men," she said.

"This order is incompatible with the principles of equality between women and men.... From that incompatibility stems the implicit abrogation of the order," she said.

SEE ALSO: Named and shamed - France's craziest laws

Parisian women had demanded the right to wear trousers during the French Revolution, when working-class revolutionaries were known as "sans-culottes" for wearing trousers instead of the silk-knee breeches (culottes) favoured by the bourgeoisie.

Women's dress continues to stir political passions in France, with Cecile Duflot, the 37-year-old Green housing minister, criticised last May for wearing jeans to the first cabinet meeting of Socialist President Francois Hollande's new government.

SEE ALSO: 'Women face pure discrimination in France'

She was later subjected to jeers and wolf-whistles while wearing a floral summer dress in the National Assembly.

A number of women also broke parliamentary protocol by wearing jeans during an extended debate at the weekend over France's planned legalisation of gay marriage.

Don't miss stories like this - join The Local France on Facebook and Twitter.

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

2013-02-28 21:30:04 by Flatdog
The removal of this law was stupid. As it was not being obeyed or enforced, it should have been left on the books as a source of amusement.

I live near Middlesbrough in North East England, and there is a by-law that says that it is alright to kill a Scotsman with a bow and arrow, but only on a Sunday.

Nobody in living memory has taken up the opportunity.
Today's headlines
French language myths
'Sacre bleu!' Do the French really say that?
"Sacrebleu! Zut alorsĂą! Mon Dieu!, how many of these do the French really say? Photo: Shutterstock

'Sacre bleu!' Do the French really say that?

Do the French really say "sacre blue!" or "zut alors!" when they want to curse? Or is it just a myth Anglos and their media have engineered? And if they don't use them then what do the French really say when they want to swear? READ  

TV love affair for French and German leaders
Can you imagine a real-life romance between Merkel and Hollande? Photo: AFP

TV love affair for French and German leaders

France's president and Germany's chancellor are carrying on a passionate affair, or at least that's the story line of a new German TV show. If you find the idea a bit ridiculous, there's a few critics that think so too. READ  

Woman killed by TGV train as she chases dog
Photo: Marsupilami92/Flickr

Woman killed by TGV train as she chases dog

A woman was struck and killed by a high-speed TGV train in France this week when she ran out onto the tracks to try to catch her escaped dog. It's the latest in a series of tragic accidents that have seen people killed by the trains. READ  

Julie Gayet wins privacy suit against Closer
Actress Julie Gayet, who had an affair with Hollande, won her privacy suit against Closer magazine on Tuesday. Photo: AFP

Julie Gayet wins privacy suit against Closer

A French court has fined two tabloid magazine executives and a photographer over a photo of Julie Gayet, who became the subject of media hounding after her affair when President François Hollande was revealed in January. READ  

Valls vs Blair
Is Manuel Valls really a French Tony Blair?
Spot the difference. Or maybe there isn't any between Manuel Valls and Tony Blair? Photo: AFP

Is Manuel Valls really a French Tony Blair?

Is the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls really a Gallic Tony Blair? With the help of a political expert we taker a closer look to see if the oft-made comparison is fair or false. READ  

Trierweiler's new book 'won't spare' Hollande
Valerie Trierweiler has a potentially brutal book coming out on her time with President François Hollande. Photo: AFP

Trierweiler's new book 'won't spare' Hollande

A potentially explosive new memoir is due out this week from Valerie Trierwieler, France's ex-"first lady" who was dumped by the president for his mistress. The book apparently does little to "spare" François Hollande. READ  

France vows to get tough on job seekers
France orders crackdown on job seekers after it emerged tens of thousands of positions have been left unfilled. Photo:AFP

France vows to get tough on job seekers

The French labour minister has ordered a crackdown to root out those abusing unemployment benefits, after it emerged that hundreds of thousands of available jobs remain unfilled in France. READ  

Sarkozy's big return: Carla Bruni 'says non!'
Carla Bruni-Sarkozy does not want her husband to return to politics, according to reports. Photo: AFP

Sarkozy's big return: Carla Bruni 'says non!'

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy faces a few obstacles before he can fulfill his dream of becoming head of state once again - not least his numerous legal tangles. But it appears the biggest hurdle of all could be his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. READ  

Votes for expats: Plan to end UK's 15-year rule
Brits may soon get the right vote in the UK for the rest of their lives. Photo: Hagwall/Flickr

Votes for expats: Plan to end UK's 15-year rule

The Conservative party in the UK has made a bid to woo expat voters by pledging to end the controversial “15-year rule” that prevents millions of Brits abroad from being able to vote. READ  

Most French admit they 'don't know about wine'
Most French people know nothing about wine, a new survey has revealed. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

Most French admit they 'don't know about wine'

It may be the country’s most famous product but more than two thirds of French people admit they know nothing about wine, according to a new poll. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Ten dos and don'ts for keeping your French in-laws happy
National
Unemployment: How does France compare to Europe?
International
Are all the talented professionals really leaving France?
National
La France profonde: Is it a rural idyll or a backwater hell?
Travel
Check out the four new attractions coming to Paris this autumn
Gallery
The French words you can't translate literally
National
Ten things you need to know about France's economics whizzkid
International
VIDEO: Watch the top five street scams to avoid in Paris
Politics
Take a look at the bulging to-do list that awaits France's new government
Politics
Six questions for France after Hollande ousts rebels
International
Choosing schools in France: Do you go international or French?
Gallery
From kissing to bad-mouthing: Ten ways expats in France drive you mad
Culture
Ten things you need to know about the Liberation of Paris:
Travel
Watch this impressive time lapse video and you'll want to move to Paris
National
Veiled Muslim woman on a French beach prompts politician's angry rant
Travel
Forget Paris and Provence where are the least touristy areas of France?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The battle to liberate Paris from the Nazis
National
What France means to you in just one tweet
National
15 French 'false friends' you need to watch out for
International
12 reasons to invest in Paris and seven not to
National
French hamlet 'Death to Jews' mulls name change
National
French tourist caught in Pompeii brothel romp
International
'Forget the Anglo-media's image of France, the reality is much different'
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se