There's a place in France where women can finally wear pants: Paris.


Yes, in the fashion capital of the world, a two century-old law had banned women from wearing trousers. It was passed soon after the French Revolution when what sort of pants you wore could be a political statement. Wealthier people wore knee-length pants: culottes. The working man wore long pants. But for the women, no trousers allowed.

SIEGEL: Over the years, the rule was eased somewhat. Women were allowed to wear pantalons while riding une bicyclette, a bicycle, or un cheval, a horse. And as you can imagine, the rule was not strictly enforced.

CORNISH: Nonetheless, the anti-pants regulation has been a thorn in the inseam of women's rights activists for years. That's all over now. The French minister for women's rights has declared the ordinance incompatible with the principles of equality between women and men.

SIEGEL: And with that, la revolution is finally complete.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.