Male prisoners win right to equal cosmetic treatment

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Skin care products Gender

Male prisoners in Germany have won the right to spend as much on cosmetic and personal care products as their female counterparts

Women are still the biggest consumers of beauty products but men are spending more money than ever before on cosmetics.

Right to spend equal amount on beauty

Now in German prisons, men will have the right to spend as much as women after a male inmate, at an undisclosed prison, appealed against its policies on the grounds of gender discrimination, according to press reports.

Previously women were allocated €30 a month of their jail income for cosmetics and skin care products and men had no budget for beauty products.

The Constitutional Court said this practice amounted to a violation of the protection against sex discrimination under Germany's Basic Law.

Interest in cosmetics not 'biologically determined'

The court ruled: “Members of one sex cannot be denied their cosmetics choices simply because they are more typically found among the opposite sex.

“Although the interest in cosmetics may be more widespread or frequently stronger among women than among men, it is not a biologically determined interest among women.”

The male prisoner who complained about the practice of only allowing women to buy cosmetics also appealed against the policy of not giving men the right to spend money on phone calls.

Only women at his prison were given the right to spend €25 a month on cosmetics.

Prison officials had argued that the male wing did not have a secure room for the telephone and that men did not need to shop for cosmetics.

The plaintiff's lawyer, Kai Zimmermann, told AFP that his client had reached Germany’s top tribunal in the city of Karlsruhe to defend "the right to use aftershave, moisturiser and the like".

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