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

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 3
     Previous   Next 
    by: Daniel from: Kigali
    February 22, 2014 12:55 AM
    i wish even in Rwanda

    by: ali kanos from: nairobi kenya
    February 21, 2014 12:12 PM
    I wish even Kenya government will climb the same corridor with Uganda gova in its development becouse we are either Muslims or Christians where our authentic scriptures clearly outlines best ways of dressing for male and female.May Almighty God bless the people and gava of Uganda

    by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
    February 21, 2014 4:36 AM
    In order to treat women equally with their counterpart, Ugandan government should come up with provision regulating male's dress code: for example men should not be allowed to wear cowboy hate, white shirts with long sleeves,blue jeans and underwear.

    by: derek from: kampala
    February 21, 2014 1:42 AM
    A gud number of the mps who passed law engage in adultery,fornication and corruption on a daily basis and its puzzling where and how they have the guts of dictating morals to their fellow countrymen and women
    In Response

    by: nhamo from: zimbabwe bulawayo
    February 25, 2014 4:47 PM
    Well said Derek , to many of those who pass these laws are guilty of other passtimes , married yet commiting adulterey, corruption, sex whilst unmarried, how can anybody take these kind of moral setters serious

    by: kaye rodger from: Buzuga,Uganda
    February 21, 2014 12:48 AM
    the law should jst specify places where to and where to not where these mini skirts and all clothz in tht bracket......

    by: azeez from: kampala
    February 20, 2014 11:27 PM
    Commenting or criticizing a law without finding time to read it is not only misleading but shear irresponsibility especially from a writer or journalist.I make bold to say that there is nowhere in d law where mini- skirt is mentioned except we are reading different laws!pls let's do our homework before making ridiculous & misleading comments.

    by: ema from: uganda
    February 20, 2014 4:32 PM
    its not fair. this is a new generation
    In Response

    by: Muzee Richard Olango Abuk from: Phoenix, AZ USA
    February 26, 2014 11:18 PM
    It's true, this is not fair because we are in a new generation. Ugandan women should not be policed by men and the government as pertains to womens' personal life... wearing mini-skirt. There is no law here. The Lesbian and Gay issues is a violation of good and orderly sexual conduct, and mini-skirt is a shift in social and cultural norm. It is a shame on Uganda because our women are now being stripped naked in Kampala street. I stand with Uganda women in this struggle.
    In Response

    by: Jusu Opa Gokai from: Liberia
    February 21, 2014 5:11 AM
    I wish to use this medium to thank the Ugandian government for putting into place measure that will prevent our females from exposing their bodies in public places. I strongly believe that this will curtail the issue of rape and prostitution in Uganda and Africa at large. Again let me say BRAVO!BRAVO!BRAVO!

    by: trixy from: kampala
    February 20, 2014 7:24 AM
    attimes our mps are very hopless how can a fully educated person pass a law against mini skirts i think dey are have no creative suggestions 4 developmental purposes
    In Response

    by: Jac from: Kampala
    February 25, 2014 4:19 PM
    My Frd trixy, am nt surprised at such laws because when u look at the group that made the laws, some are s.6 dropouts, others are our grandparents treating our country like a family affair, always dosing parliament while correcting ideas, what do u expect?

    by: okelli from: Moroto
    February 20, 2014 12:33 AM
    Hurray Uganda!!! Hurray Parliament!!!
    Mr. Lokodo (min. for integrity) is so damn right. Women have 4 many decades harrassed men sexually thru' much cleavage and thighs and nothing was done. good law.
    In Response

    by: Ibrah Ali from: Malaba
    February 20, 2014 7:57 AM
    Those who dress on miniskirts r always uncomfortable in public.Watch their body language n U wonder why they had to dress so! Most often U find them trying to pull down the skirt voluntarily knowing very well that it's indecent. Do U have to parade your nakedness? Stop copying decadent western codes.

    by: Godwin from: NIGERIA
    February 19, 2014 3:42 PM
    I think that is good, if only it will happened here in nigeria. Because ladies here are almost naked
    Comments page of 3
     Previous   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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.