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Countries that dictate what women should wear

‘Do not touch my clothes’ was the hashtag of resistance adopted by Afghan ladies after the Taliban had made the hijab mandatory for female college students in 2021.

The women shared their pictures on social media dressed in colourful and vibrant traditional Afghan attires to protest towards the Taliban’s decree.

In an identical act of defiance, the female protestors are opposing the compulsory hijab law in Iran by removing their headscarves in public and chopping off their hair.

The protests come within the wake of the demise of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was detained for wearing tight trousers and a unfastened headscarf (hijab) by Iran’s morality police in Tehran. Later, she fell into a coma and died last week in police custody.

Her demise has sparked global protests and worldwide condemnation. It has additionally highlighted the ways during which many states management what their residents, especially girls can or can not put on.

Besides Iran, here are different nations that restrict women and dictate their clothes decisions.


The restriction on women’s freedom was essentially the most seen change in Afghanistan for the reason that Taliban takeover on 15 August 2021.

In May this 12 months, the Taliban mandated women put on the burqa (loose clothing that covers the entire physique and only reveals eyes) when they venture out of the home. Women were also directed to go away their properties provided that essential.

Taliban mandates women to wear burqas in public. AFP File Photo

The Taliban government has also banned ladies from travelling lengthy distances and not using a male chaperone.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia requires girls to decorate ‘modestly’, and therefore, tight-fitting garments, sleeveless shirts, short clothes and see-through materials usually are not allowed.

Wearing heavy make-up can be frowned upon, notes The Week.

The traditional abaya (a lengthy, loose garment that has a black headband or niqab) is worn by girls in public.

However, this regulation was relaxed in 2018 and women may decide to not put on abaya.

Hijab must in Iran burqa banned in France Countries that dictate what women should wear

Saudi Arabia requires girls to dress ‘modestly’, and hence, tight-fitting clothes are not allowed. AFP File Photo

There is no such diktat for clothing for Saudi males, who often wear a thobe (an ankle-length tunic that covers their arms). Men can choose their garments so long as it hides their torsos and knees.

The enforcement of the costume code in Saudi Arabia was eased up in 2016 when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “stripped the spiritual police of arrest powers, removing the enforcers of the Saudi dress code”, reviews The Wall Street Journal.

Hijab must in Iran burqa banned in France Countries that dictate what women should wear

France, Iran, Saudi Arabia and North Korea are among the many nations that dictate women’s clothes. Graphic: Pranay Bhardwaj

North Korea

Among North Korea’s many bizarre rules corresponding to a ban on watching international movies, its citizens’ clothing selections are additionally regulated.

To curb any sort of Western affect, North Korea prohibits piercings, skinny jeans, and several hairstyles.

Women sporting skirts have to make sure their knees are lined. As per Insider, the nation augmented its crackdown on tight jeans, dyed hair and other kinds, which mostly goal women.

The country’s Socialist Patriotic Youth League stops folks on roads, take them to their workplace and releases them solely after somebody brings “acceptable” clothes, a source told Radio Free Asia.

“The youth league’s patrols are cracking down on younger people who wear long hair all the means down to their waists, and individuals who dye their hair brown, in addition to individuals who wear clothes with giant foreign letters and women who wear tight pants,” the source was quoted as saying by the US non-profit information outlet.

North Korea authorises an inventory of hairstyles for its citizens– 18 for ladies and 10 for males, reviews Times Now.


France bans Muslim ladies from wearing full Islamic veil (burqa and niqab) in several public places together with streets, retailers, and hospitals amongst others.

Hijab isn’t allowed in public faculties, center schools and excessive schools. A law was passed in 2004 in France that prohibited donning spiritual symbols thought of “conspicuous” in schools, reports CNN.

France’s football federation does not permit hijab-wearing women to compete within the sport. The ban has sparked a backlash from many Muslim players.

Hijab must in Iran burqa banned in France Countries that dictate what women should wear

France’s soccer federation does not allow hijab-wearing ladies to compete within the sport. AFP File Photo

“What we would like is to be accepted as we are, to implement these grand slogans of variety, inclusiveness,” Founé Diawara, the president of Les Hijabeuses, a group of young hijab-wearing soccer gamers, said.

“Our only need is to play soccer,” Diawara was quoted as saying by The New York Times.

Other European nations

Other European nations including the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria and Belgium have banned full-face veils worn by Muslim ladies.

In the Netherlands, the ban additionally applies to full-face helmets and balaclavas, apart from burqas, Deutsche Welle reports.

Bulgaria enforced a burqa ban in 2016.

Italy’s Sorrento

In July this year, Italy’s well-known vacationer destination Sorrento banned bikinis citing locals feeling ‘discomfort and unease’.

Although, bikinis are allowed at poolside or beach clubs, individuals are fined if they are seen walking around in swimsuits in other places like shops or eating places, stories Mirror.

Some nations that struck rigid costume codes

Uganda had scrapped its controversial anti-pornography law in 2021 underneath which mini-skirts have been banned.

In 2019, Sudan had repealed its ‘Public Order’ law- which dictated how women gown and act in public.

The legislation allowed security forces to arrest ladies for “the most insignificant reasons”, corresponding to sporting trousers, not donning hijab in public, or mingling with males, reports Egyptian Streets.

With inputs from agencies

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