11.07.2019 in Law

Women and Citizenship in France Essay

During the 1993 reform required children born in France of foreign parents to request French nationality at adulthood, rather than being automatically accorded citizenship. This law was got rid off and became that children born in France of alien parents remained foreign until obtained legal majority.

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According to French republic, the French people who are in ownership of French nationality, according to the constitution, France shall be indivisible, secular, democratic and social republic. It shall ensure equality of all citizens before the law, without distinction from origin, race or religion and shall respect all beliefs.

This paper discusses women citizenship in France with reference to universalism vs. multicultural notions of citizenship affecting Muslim women, and how the policy to ban face veils in public reflect the French view of women and citizenship. It will further discuss other cultural practices that could be construed as harming women which should be restricted through legislation.

In April 2011 France became the first country to ban veils in public and women who will be found with veils would be at risk of fine or special citizenship classes. This policy has reflected on France view of women citizenship as universal. In that a first growing secular state often marginalizes ethnic minorities, and tries to separate these groups of people who differ racially or politically from larger group of which is part to weaken their ethnic roots. France has banned the face of veils for Muslim women referred to as niqab for the reasons that it’s oppressive, and a women’s field of vision and hearing is impaired by full veil. This can lead to dangerous situations while driving, or even crossing a busy street. Also women who wear Niqab’s are at a security risk in that when they hide inside veils they might engage in criminal activities such as bank robbery.

Multiculturalism is the advocacy of extending equitable status to distinct ethnic and religious groups without promoting any particular ethnic, religious and cultural community values as central(Gorski,1999). Only small populations of women in France wear veils and such a small number cannot be a threat to French values, or public safety. By French government banning the wearing of veils means that it does not practice multicultural notion of democracy in the small portion of Muslim women in France the Muslim women have been denied their religious rights to dress the way their customs and traditions expects them to.

Universalism refers to religious, theological and philosophical concepts in regards to universal being recognized universally, it’s a term that identifies particular doctrines considering all people in their formation in that somebody is recognized as a religious man or woman (MCalla,1825). (Religion meaning set of beliefs concerning cause of nature) . The argument that niqab is a symbol of oppression is not justifiable under liberal state. This perception that niqab is subjective because of support for law that restricts a minority from exercising freedom of religion and expression which is not universalism. All women should be entitled to self determination and without deterrence and if French believe in liberalism and human rights they would have to choose to support women who want to wear veils daily. But if they choose to uphold liberal ideals and restrict women from exercising their freedom then there would be contradiction of liberal values that France upholds. The banning of niqabs policy by French government should be supported in that wearing of niqabs, some Muslim clerics do not have consentient agreement on wearing of niqab. Some have opposed this ban while others have perceived niqabs to be conflicting with religious texts.

The women who wear veils in France live relatively isolated from the society and they do not always the principle of equality between men and women they should be educated on this so that they know if their fathers and husbands force them to wear veils the law is on their side.

(Marshal, 1950) understands that citizenship as equal rights of all members of society to be accepted as “full members of the community”. The French government, by banning wearing of veil, is not accepting the Muslim members as members of the community hence it is denying them their democratic rights.

Other cultural practices that could be construed as harming women include female genital mutilation which is still practiced in some African societies this multicultural practice by these communities administered to women before they get married to show that they have attained the age of marriage. On the other hand it is not universalism because it’s not internationally recognized and it does not mean practicing it that you are religious, and many women have campaigned to put a ban on this.

Beauty and misogyny is another multicultural practice that should be restricted through legislation. This is because it is dangerous to the health of women and girls e.g. like conducting a cosmetic surgery. It also leads to prostitution and acting of pornographic movies.


All in all wearing of veils is not universalism it’s a multicultural practice that Muslim women exercise. The ban of the veil by French government does not mean that Muslim women are denied their rights but these is a relieved from traditional outdated practices. There are other multicultural practices that should completely be banned globally e.g. female genital mutilation which had taken its roots in Africa.

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