A law student was denied entry to a lecture after being told that her knee-length skirt would distract male students.
Joaninne Nanyange, who is studying at the Law Development Centre (LDC) in Kampala, Uganda, claims she was stopped by a policewoman at the college’s entrance and asked to reveal the length of her skirt “to see how far down it could go.”
When Nanyange explained that it couldn’t be pulled down any further she was apparently denied access to the campus and missed her class.
In a Facebook post after the incident she said another woman with the police officer said the “skirt was not long enough for LDC standards.”
She wrote: “The uniformed woman flagged me down and being the law abiding citizen that I am, I stopped. She asked me to pull my skirt down to see how far down it could go. I burst into laughter. Her request didn’t make sense. The other woman, ever with a very satisfied grin, told me I could not access the campus because my skirt was not long enough for LDC standards. I was shocked.”
In a subsequent interview with the BBC Nanyange blamed Uganda’s patriarchal society for creating “de facto” dress codes and controlling women’s bodies.
She said: “The reason they gave me, it wasn’t about the fact that maybe your profession requires you to have this length of skirt, it was about the fact that if you go with this length of skirt, you’re going to distract the men and boys that you’re studying with in class. I work hard, and I manage to pay the…required (amount) for LDC’s tuition. But I can’t access the campus to attend my classes because when ‘my brothers’ look at my knees and legs, they will get erections. Please let us live. Allow us to prosper. This nonsense needs to end,” she added.
In 2014 the Ugandan parliament debated whether to outlaw mini-skirts and skirts above the knee but eventually decreed they are permissible.
In the USA last year, a teenage high school girl who insisted she could go bra-less to classes was accused of sexually harassing male teachers and pupils.