• France's news in English

France lifts 200-year-old trouser ban on women

AFP · 4 Feb 2013, 15:30

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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'

Story continues below…

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.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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
France given wake up call as it bids for Brexit business
The business district 'La Defense' in Paris. Photo: AFP

France clearly has some work to do if it really wants to pinch business from the UK post-Brexit.

Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
Do you know the French word for throat-support? Photo: AFP

Word of warning: Don't translate French literally.

How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Yellow smoke rises around French police officers in Paris holding a banner reading "Solidarity with our colleagues, police angry". All photos: AFP

Could these measures stop the cops from protesting?

'3,000 migrants dispersed' after 'Jungle' clearance
Photo: AFP

While thousands of migrants have been bussed out around France, new ones are arriving all the time and thousands of others have simply been dispersed aid agencies say.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Photo: Matthew Powell/Flickr

A must read for anyone who wants to stay on the right side of the law in France.

Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
The town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Photo: Aa77zz/Flickr

Aliens take note.

American tourist dies at French Riviera sex club
The Riviera resort of Cannes. Photo: AFP

American tourist reportedly fell five floors after being pushed outside the underground sex club in Cannes.

Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available