Who would have thought that the current European heatwave would have sparked the latest controversy over the rights of Muslim women in France?  It's yet another example of how difficult it is to find a balance between competing human rights, whether they be based on religion, gender or the societal values of a nation.  It's not surprising employers find it so difficult when even countries struggle to get it right.

Muslim women have been taking a stand in French swimming pools during the heatwave this week by wearing burkinis, in breach of regulations regarding 'appropriate' swimwear.  France banned the full veil in public spaces in 2011, on the basis that French gender equality requires that women are not "subjugated" to men by dictation on their clothing choices.

Clearly France has concluded that its secular society values gender equality over and above a person's right to manifest their religion.  We haven't seen the same happen in the UK, which cannot claim the same state-level secularism, but we do often see examples of clashes of rights and difficulties in trying to resolve those issues.  On the positive side, however, at least our swimming pools and lidos will be open in this hot weather!