Saturday, July 13, 2024

French Lawmakers Pass Bill Banning All Types Of Hair Discrimination

French lawmakers in the Country’s lower house has passed a bill that would ban discrimination over the texture, length, color or style of someone’s hair.

Its authors hope the groundbreaking measure sends a message of support to people of colour and others who have faced hostility in the workplace and beyond because of their hair.

The bill was proposed by Olivier Serva, a French lawmaker from the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, who says if passed it would make France the first country in the world to recognize discrimination based on hair at a national level.

The bill would amend existing anti-discrimination measures in the labor code and criminal code to explicitly outlaw discrimination against people with curly and coiled hair or other hairstyles perceived as unprofessional, as well as bald people.

The draft law which echoes similar legislation in more than 20 U.S. states, does not specifically target race-based discrimination, though that was the primary motivation for the bill.

The bill is supported by members of President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party Renaissance and left-wing parties. But it has faced opposition from conservative and far-right lawmakers who see it as an effort to import U.S. concepts about race and racial discrimination to France.

In the United States, 24 states have adopted a version of the CROWN Act, which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, It bans race-based hair discrimination in employment, housing, schools and in the military. Federal legislation passed in the House in 2022 but Senate Republicans blocked it a month later.

However, Opponents of the French bill say France’s legal framework already offers enough protection to people facing discrimination over their natural Afro hair, braids, cornrows or locs.

Advocates of the bill hope it addresses Black French people’s long struggle to embrace their natural hair, often stigmatized as coarse and unruly.

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