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Faith Nyasuguta 

French lawmakers are currently deliberating on a landmark bill aimed at prohibiting discrimination based on hair texture, length, color, or style.

Advocates of the bill argue that it is long overdue and necessary to dismantle barriers faced by individuals, particularly those of Black descent, who encounter prejudice and bias in various settings, including the workplace. 

If passed, this legislation, spearheaded by French MP Olivier Serva, could potentially position France as the first country worldwide to formally recognize and address nationwide hair discrimination.

The proposed bill seeks to amend existing anti-discrimination laws within the labor code and penal code to explicitly outlaw discrimination against individuals with curly, coiled, or other hairstyles deemed unprofessional, as well as against bald individuals. 

Although the bill does not explicitly target race-based discrimination, proponents emphasize that addressing racial biases and challenging Eurocentric beauty standards are central to its objectives.

While there is significant support for the bill from members of President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Renaissance party and left-wing factions, it faces opposition from conservative and far-right deputies who view it as an attempt to import American concepts of race and racial discrimination into France. 


Critics argue that France’s existing legal framework already offers adequate protection against discrimination based on natural hair, braids, or locks.

However, proponents of the bill highlight instances of discrimination that persist despite existing laws. They point to cases such as that of a black French flight attendant who successfully sued Air France after being denied access to a flight due to his braided hairstyle

This legal victory brought out the ongoing struggle faced by Black individuals in France to embrace their natural hair, which has often been stigmatized as unruly or unprofessional.

The absence of official race-based data collection in France poses challenges in quantifying and addressing hair discrimination. Advocates emphasize that the bill represents a significant step towards empowering individuals to reject requests to alter their natural hair to conform to Eurocentric standards

Aude Livoreil-Djampou, a hairdresser and mother, views the legislation as a means of promoting self-acceptance and challenging societal norms.

For Estelle Vallois, a salon customer and mother, the bill holds personal significance as she envisions a future where her daughter will not face the same challenges she encountered in accessing suitable hair care products and services. She reflects on her own experiences of using products designed for European hair and expresses gratitude for the progress towards inclusivity and change.

Ultimately, proponents of the bill assert that it goes beyond addressing hair discrimination—it represents a broader movement towards inclusivity and acceptance of diverse identities

By challenging societal perceptions of beauty and professionalism, the legislation aims to foster a more equitable and inclusive society where individuals are empowered to embrace their natural hair and cultural heritage without fear of discrimination or prejudice


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Faith Nyasuguta

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