Female Scofflaws Unite

May 4, 2010By Paris UpdateWhat's New Potpourri


trousers illegal in france

This woman could be arrested for wearing trousers in Paris. Photo © Ron Fox

Clothes are very important to the French, and the proposed new law forbidding the wearing of the burqa is not the first instance of the French government legislating what women can or cannot wear. In fact, it is currently illegal for women to wear trousers in France without the permission of the prefecture de police, according to a law passed by the Revolutionary government, the loi du 26 brumaire an VIII (1899). Later amendments (in 1892 and 1909) made exceptions if the lady in question was “holding a bicycle by the handlebars or the reins of a horse.” This law is still on the books, even though women and men were supposedly given equal rights by the Constitution of 1946, so all of you women who go about in trousers without police authorization, a bicycle or a horse are nothing but common criminals and are subject to arrest. Radical Party of the Left members of the National Assembly have proposed the abolition of the law.


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