Male inmates in Germany win fight to buy cosmetics

Wed Dec 3, 2008 11:19am EST
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BERLIN (Reuters) - A male prisoner in Germany this week won the right to buy aftershave, moisturizer and other beauty products while behind bars after he appealed to Germany's Constitutional Court on grounds of sexual discrimination.

The inmate had challenged a policy that allowed only women to spend 25 euros ($31.60) of their money on cosmetics.

The Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe accepted the prisoner's appeal, saying gender stereotypes and traditional role expectations should not be used to justify unequal treatment.

"Even if the interest in cosmetics may be more widespread or often stronger among women than men, it is not biologically determined," the court said in its ruling.

"Members of one sex cannot be denied the freedom of their own choices simply because they are more typically found among the opposite sex."

(Reporting by Anna Brooke)