French women forbidden to wear trousers – it’s official

French women might have the vote, they might no longer have to ask their husband’s permission to exercise a profession, but can they wear trousers? Absolument pas – it’s against the law!!      

(See my earlier post about sexism in France)     

Le Figaro newspaper reports today that a law originally passed in Year VIII of the Republic following the French Revolution has never been repealed. It was amended only in 1892 and 1902 to allow women to wear the offending garment when riding a bicycle or a horse, respectively. The 1946 Constitution enshrined the principle of égalité between men and women, but this did not extend to trouser-wearing, apparently. 

Does this mean that the elegant Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, wife of President Nicolas Sarkozy, is going to have to ditch her trouser suits as an example to us all?     

The 200-year old law stipulates that, ‘All women wishing to dress like a man must present themselves at the Prefecture of Police to obtain authorisation to do so.’ They don’t state what the penalty for non-compliance is: public debagging, perhaps, followed by the guillotine for serial offenders?     

So what are you waiting for? … à la Préfecture

Copyright © 2010 A writer’s lot in France, all rights reserved

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About nessafrance

My husband and I moved to an 18th-century farmhouse in SW France in 1997. I am fascinated by French history, rural traditions and customs and enjoy seeking out the reality behind the myths. I run my own copywriting business and write short stories and the occasional novel in my spare time. My husband appears here as the SF, which stands for Statistics Freak, owing to his penchant for recording numbers about everything.
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