News / Africa

    New Law Bans Miniskirts in Uganda

    FILE - A woman wearing a miniskirt takes part in a protest in Jakarta against the idea that provocatively dressed women are to blame for sexual assaults.
    FILE - A woman wearing a miniskirt takes part in a protest in Jakarta against the idea that provocatively dressed women are to blame for sexual assaults.
    The Ugandan government said the president has signed into law sweeping and controversial anti-pornography legislation that outlaws miniskirts and other types of revealing clothing.
     
    The new law covers a range of issues related to pornography, including child pornography, pornographic publications and even suggestive music videos.
     
    But what is grabbing headlines and stirring debate is the dress code.  The law makes it illegal to wear revealing clothing, including tops that show too much cleavage and miniskirts, defined as anything above the knee.
     
    Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo said Tuesday that it is now forbidden to wear any clothing that could be deemed sexually exciting. 

    “If you dress in such a way that you irritate the mind and excite the people then you are badly dressed; if you draw the attention of the other person outside there with a malicious purpose of exciting and stimulating him or her into sex,” he said.
     
    Ugandan women have been speaking out against the law, which, they said, primarily affects them.
     
    Rita Achiro of the Uganda Women’s Network, a rights advocacy group, said such legislated control over women’s bodies sets a dangerous precedent for women’s rights.
     
    “Such laws actually take a country like Uganda backwards in regards to women’s empowerment.  I do not want to look at it just as the miniskirt, but rather look at it from controlling women’s bodies, and eventually that will end up into actual total control of women,” she said.
     
    Achiro also argued strongly against the law’s implication that the way a woman dresses incites a man to rape, pointing out that in many Ugandan cultures Western-style dress is a comparatively new phenomenon.  For centuries women in these cultures wore very little clothing at all, she said, and yet rape was neither common nor tolerated.
     
    The penalties for wearing revealing clothing remain unclear.  But short skirts are a common sight in Uganda, particularly among young women in the capital.  Many Ugandan women say the dress code will be difficult, if not impossible, to enforce.

    You May Like

    Multimedia US Observes Memorial Day With Wreath-laying, National Concert

    Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 3
        Next 
    by: kingsley tama from: valletta,malta
    March 06, 2014 5:22 AM
    as anti gay law be implemented,it wil spill over to other related pornography issue

    by: Musa from: USA
    February 27, 2014 9:06 AM
    There are better issue to be address rather that a law that has to do with dress code.

    by: Sopani Sichinga from: Malawi
    February 26, 2014 1:15 PM
    I think the Mr President is somehow correct. Am saying this because the way women dress these days its they don't give respect to themselves. Soon they will start walking naked.

    by: Eugene from: Nairobi
    February 26, 2014 1:12 PM
    It is ironic that in Africa we keep bashing Western mannerisms and culture for it's perceived detriments but as it has been said we were contentedly roaming about naked barely 100 yrs ago as 'sovereign Africans'... the only decadence here are the lies and hypocrisy. In Kenya, Uganda and S. Sudan many communities still walk about naked obliviously... will entire communities now go to jail?
    In Response

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    February 28, 2014 10:44 AM
    Ignorance may not be an excuse at law, but sometimes it attracts less contempt. It's willful acts that attract greater consequences. Mini skirts are not ignorance; it is a willful design to allure, seduce or tempt into inordinate affection and afterwards to claim rape. Let it be as it were. In the days of ignorance God overlooked, but now all have been called to behave...

    by: John Stefanyszyn from: Montreal
    February 26, 2014 11:49 AM
    Hypocrisy of Uganda’s Self-Righteousness

    Uganda’s leaders say…
    ...homosexuality is a crime
    ...wearing mini-skirts is a crime
    ...BUT….polygamy is not a crime

    The LEADERS desire to rule by what is right in their own eyes.

    by: walter from: Nairobi
    February 26, 2014 12:31 AM
    This law is Barbaric draconian monstrous uncalled-for and ambiguous and including everything bad .It should specify which areas should not be exposed what if a lady don’t wear a miniskirt and I wear a pant for example will that be against the law and the Men should also be burned from wearing tight pants coz they make them sexy Lol…………………………..

    by: Mutamba asifu ali from: Wakiso uganda
    February 25, 2014 4:13 AM
    Uuh atleast but it was worse
    In Response

    by: Uganda from: kampala
    February 26, 2014 11:34 AM
    Let me hope you know what the word mini-skirt means because ths has triggered the idle and disorderly to begin there barbaric acts of undressing and attacking women under the act of fighting mini-skirts what they don't know wat it means

    by: musa from: kampala
    February 23, 2014 2:11 PM
    infact it was too.. late for ugandans.

    by: kituyi doreen from: uganda
    February 23, 2014 12:24 AM
    Importing of mini skirts and those selling them should be burnt first if not then then the law of miniskirts wont work coz once they continue selling them then who wont buy.thk about it

    by: Anonymous from: stockholm
    February 22, 2014 8:18 AM
    i think this minister lokodo is not serious for he is bringing his personal affairs into the normal everyday life of a local ugandan.
    I mean long ago if he is truly ugandan and knows about the history of uganda ...women in most cultures never used to dress in any thing too lond...it was either a very small cloth to cover the breasts and private parts and they would move freely and no one would object until the colonialists came introducing long and heavy clothes.... includind the gomesi which is not any where in our culture.
    So im just wondering is this law out to conserve the Ugandan culture and stop pornography or is it out to infringe on womens rights koz to me its like the men get to do all they want nd the women dont.
    Comments page of 3
        Next 

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora