Uganda Miniskirt Ban – Civil servants in Uganda are facing a strict dress code after the government issued a circular warning them to embrace modesty in their dressing.
According to the circular signed by Ministry of Public Service permanent secretary Catherine Bitarakwate Musingwiire, all officers are required to dress decently and in the generally accepted standards in the Ugandan society.
Female officers, according to the letter, “should avoid wearing sleeves, transparent blouses and dresses at the workplace (and) ensure that clothing covers up cleavage, navels, knees, and back.” Female officers will also not be allowed to appear for duty in open flat shoes except on a doctor’s recommendation/medical grounds, wear bright colored hair, in form of natural hair, braids and hair extensions.
Similarly, Men must wear long-sleeved shirts, jackets, and ties, while trousers should not be tight-fitting.
These guidelines, issued by the Ministry of Public Service following the Uganda miniskirt ban apply to all non-uniformed civil servants. But there is a feeling that female staff is the main focus on the new rules.
While women will be allowed to wear pant-suits, they have been warned not to wear any tight-fitting clothing. Dresses and skirts must at least be knee-length.
Uganda is a conservative society and women have previously complained of being harassed if they wear mini-skirts in public.
The Ministry of Public Service’s Director of Human Resources, Adah Muwanga, said they had to act after receiving complaints:
“We were approached with complaints that, specifically lady officers, were dressing in an unacceptable manner, with mini-skirts and showing body parts which otherwise generally should be covered in Ugandan society”.
She said the ministry has overall responsibility to guide the administration and management of the public service and “this is how we want the public to view us”.
The circular further states that accessories should be modest, while long fingernails of more than 3cms (1.5in) with bright or multi-coloured nail polish are also not permitted.
“We are mindful of the perception of the public to our officers. Do you feel okay when you have nails several meters long? It is not neat and healthy and we have to care about the health of public officers,” she added.
Mrs. Muwanga said that staff who failed to comply with the new enforcements would be cautioned at first and repeat offenders would face disciplinary action. She, however, added that there was room for a review of the law.
Read Also: Tanzania Outlaws Skimpy Dresses
Elsewhere in Tanzania, the government formally banned ladies from wearing skimpy clothes such as miniskirts in April this year and the said ban caused outrage in the country.
Most of the ladies who were protesting said that the government is not meant to dictate for them the standard of clothes they should wear.
However, there are speculations that the Uganda Miniskirt ban can’t be sustained because it infringes the women’s rights to freedom of dressing. But let’s not forget that the men are also affected in this regard.