Posted by: kathandroger | February 5, 2013

Wearing the trousers…

They’re a strange lot these French. They have never really claimed to be front runners in the gender equality race, but it is slightly shocking to learn that for the past 213 years it has been illegal for women to wear trousers in Paris! Obviously it was a nonsense law, but it had not been repealed. It dates back to the days when the wearing of long trousers by the working class became a symbol of the revolution. There were a couple of exceptions – if a woman was holding the reins of a horse or the handlebars of a bike, she was given special dispensation to don trousers; otherwise, to dress in ‘mens clothing’ women had to apply to the Prefecture for a special permit!

The Minister who has finally repealed the law is Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, France’s 35 year old French-Moroccan Women’s Minister. She’s also the spokesperson for the government and definitely one to watch for the future. But after Segolene Royale’s failure to win the presidency in 2007 I’m really not sure whether the French are ready for a women to wear the presidential trousers… especially one of Maghrebin descent…

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