The Burkini Ban in France – Yet Another Attempt by Men to Tell Women What to Do
The mayors in approximately 30 coastal towns in France banded together to ban burkinis at the beach, apparently as an act against Muslims and the recent terrorism activities that have occurred. Clearly a women’s choice to wear a burkini to a beach poses no threat to the public, as burkinis themselves often look similar to wetsuit with a type of dress on top.
What, Then, Was the Purpose of the Ban?
According to news reports, the ban was seen to prevent public “affirmations of Islam.” Former French President Nicholas Sarkozy, who reportedly will be running again for President, is one of the major proponents of the burkini ban, and additionally wants to ban Muslim headscarves from universities and private companies. The ban by the coastal mayors has resulted in a heated debate in the French culture about the French beliefs between the separation of church and state, and whether enforcing the ban impinges upon the French notions of “fundamental freedoms.”
Burkini Ban Overturned, But Not All Mayors Are Complying
A French court struck down the burkini ban, ruling that the anti-burkini decrees were “a serious and manifestly illegal attack on fundamental freedoms”, including the right to move around in public and the freedom of conscience. While the bans are now technically illegal, it is reported that more than 20 mayors who adopted the ban are keeping in place the decrees, which allow women to be stopped and fined.
In addition to the burkini ban being patently discriminatory based upon religion, the ban is also yet another example of how women are being discriminated against by men. The mayors of the French towns apparently did not see fit to somehow single out males for any specific or contrived wrong; apparently it was much easier to single out the women who might be with young children at the beach.
Discrimination on the basis of religion and gender are both wrong, and (at least in America) are illegal in the workplace. On behalf of our clients, we fight for the rights of women at work, and against illegal harassment and discrimination.