Women in Kozhikode Corporation office opt for gender-neutral attire

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They want to break the perception that anything other than saree or salwar kameez is unprofessional

They want to break the perception that anything other than saree or salwar kameez is unprofessional

It should be either saree or salwar kameez – this is the unofficial dress code for women in the state civil service. So when a group of female employees showed up in baggy shirts and jeans at the Kozhikode Corporation office on Tuesday, many eyes turned. Some frowned, while others enjoyed. But the approximately 25 women who “took the risk” are determined to continue dressing as they wish.

“When news broke that a school in Balussery was opting for a gender-neutral uniform, we wished we could dress more comfortably in the office. So when the issue came up at a recent committee meeting, we wanted to test it,” said Sashitha N., District Chairwoman of Kerala Municipality Staff Union Women’s Committee, who headed “the operation”.

“It’s not that there is an official dress code or a ban on wearing any dress of our choice, but we have apprehensions within ourselves about what people would think, especially those who work with us. , if we dressed modern,” Subaida said. T., another staff member who, however, did not follow suit. She says it was only a few years ago that she had the courage to wear salwar kameez instead of saree. She said there were a few newly appointed staff members who wore modern clothes and that encouraged others to try the same at least once.

“There is a general perception that anything other than the saree or salwar kameez is not decent enough or professional enough for government officials, which we wanted to change. At the same time, we wanted to overcome the limitations we had set for ourselves,” Ms Sashitha said.

However, the apprehensions proved wrong as most Society members were either amused or pleased with the change, while a few questioned the need for such a change. Mayor Beena Philip and Society Secretary KU Bini supported women leaders in their efforts to break down barriers.

As a continuation of these efforts, the committee on Thursday organized self-defense training sessions for female officers of the Corporation’s office with the support of the police department.

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