The Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University (SBBWU), Peshawar introduces a new “modest” dress code for its students by imposing a ban on jeans and tights on campus. Girls have been directed to wear knee-length kurtas, shalwars as well as white dupattas.
The university administration issued a formal notification asking students to strictly adhere to the new dress code. “Students have to wear knee-length kurtas, shalwars, and white dupattas, which has been made compulsory for them as per the new dress code,” the notification read. The university warned students that the new code had been introduced after approval from the registrar office and violators would be imposed a fine of Rs1,000.
This revision in the university’s dress code is not a standalone incident. The move seems to have become common practice after former governor Shah Farman faced an increase in complaints regarding sexual harassment in varsities across K-P, and as a response directed all the public universities to change its open dress code policy.
The question then becomes whether banning certain types of clothing for women be considered an effective and well-thought out response to the problem? Where universities are meant to serve as center points, playing a vital role in the awareness of citizens and building of society, they must serve as a safe place for women’s education and integrity. In this light, is there a need to push for more effective frameworks and procedural policies focusing on prevention and support, and more transparent and consistent systems to address student complaints? Or is banning and restriciting enough? Let us know your opinion.