France wants to be the first country to have a national law banning hair discrimination

The text's authors hope the effort will send a message of support to black people and others who complain of facing hostility in the workplace (and beyond) because of their hair.

But the unprecedented move still faces a long road ahead, now heading to the Senate, where it could face opposition.

Although only 50 of the 577 representatives of the National Assembly turned up for the vote, 44 votes were cast in favor of the bill.

The bill, based on similar legislation in more than 20 states in the United States, was proposed by Olivier Sarva, the French deputy for the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.

The proposal aims to amend existing anti-discrimination measures in the Labor Code and the Penal Code to expressly prohibit discrimination against people with curly and curly hair or hairstyles, the unprofessional and the bald.

Although not intended to eliminate discrimination based on race, this was the main motivation behind the legislative proposal.

Olivier Serva was quoted by the Associated Press (AP) as saying, “Those who do not fit Eurocentric standards face discrimination, stereotypes and prejudices.

Left-wing parties and members of President Emmanuel Macron's centrist Renaissance Party supported the bill, which was enough to make it to the National Assembly.

However, the Senate is dominated by conservatives, so the proposal is likely to face opposition from right-wing and far-right representatives.

In the United States, 24 states have adopted a version of the CROWN Act, which prohibits hair discrimination in employment, housing, schools, and the military.

Federal legislation on the issue was approved in the House of Representatives (the lower house of the US Congress) in 2022, but Senate Republicans blocked it a month later.

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Opponents of the French bill argue that the French legal framework already provides adequate protection for people who face discrimination because of their natural hair, whether afro-style, cornrowed or colored, but the bill's authors disagree.

For example, defenders of the text cite the case of a black French flight attendant who was denied a flight because of her braids and sued Air France for forcing her to wear a wig with straight hair.

In 2022, after a decade-long legal battle, flight attendant Abubakar Drey won the case, but the court ruled that he was not discriminated against because of his hair, but because he was a man, women were allowed to wear braids.

France does not collect official data on race because it follows a universal view that does not distinguish citizens by ethnic groups, making it difficult to measure hair discrimination based on race.

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