Kerala

Women of Kozhikode Corporation office go for gender-neutral attire

Women employees of the Kozhikode Corporation in their gender-neutral attire on Tuesday.

Women employees of the Kozhikode Corporation in their gender-neutral attire on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

It should be either saree or salwar kameez – that is the unofficial dress code for women in the government service in the State. Hence, when a group of women employees turned up in loose shirts and jeans on Tuesday at the Kozhikode Corporation office, many eyes were turned. Some frowned, while others appreciated. But the 25-odd women who “took the risk” are determined to continue dressing the way they want.

“When the news came out that a school at Balussery was going for gender-neutral uniform, we wished we could dress in a more comfortable manner at the office. So when the matter came up at a recent committee meeting, we wanted to test it out,” said Sashitha N., District Convenor of the women’s committee of the Kerala Municipal Corporation Staff Union who spearheaded the ‘operation’.

“It is not that there is any official dress code or ban on wearing an attire of our choice, but we have apprehensions within ourselves about what people would think, especially those working with us, if we dressed in a modern way,” said Subaida T., another staff member who, however, did not join the bandwagon. She says it was only a couple of years ago when she garnered the courage to wear salwar kameez in place of saree. She said there were a few newly appointed members of the staff who dressed in modern attire and it encouraged the rest to try out the same at least once.

“There is a general perception that anything other than 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 have set for ourselves,” said Ms. Sashitha.

However, the apprehensions were proved wrong as most people in the Corporation were either amused or happy with the change, while a few questioned the need for such a change. Mayor Beena Philip and Corporation Secretary K.U. Bini extended their support to the women officials in their effort to break the barriers.

In continuation of these efforts, the committee has organised self-defence training sessions for the women officials in the Corporation office on Thurday with the support of the police department.


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Printable version | Aug 12, 2022 6:58:40 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/women-of-kozhikode-corporation-office-go-for-gender-neutral-attire/article65507864.ece