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Official wants Paris female pants ban gone

July 28, 2011 at 3:30 AM

PARIS, July 28 (UPI) -- A French lawmaker said she is trying to overturn a long-unenforced ban on women wearing trousers in public.

Sen. Maryvonne Blondin said she introduced a bill to the Senate calling for the ban, instituted by the Paris police chief in 1799, to be repealed, the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.

"I discovered this order this year, I was amazed," Blondin said of the ban, which required any woman seeking to "dress like a man" to obtain police permission and provide a medical justification.

An 1892 amendment to the ban allowed women to wear trousers "as long as the woman is holding the reins of a horse" and it was further relaxed in 1909 to include bicycle riders.

Officials said the ban seems to violate a provision of the 1946 French Constitution stating "the law guarantees women equal rights with men in all areas."

However, the Paris police chief refused to get rid of the ban in 1969, saying "it is unwise to change texts which foreseen or unforeseen variations in fashion can return to the fore."

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