It disheartening that during the times, when women have helped our country to reach Moon; some regressive people in our society still debating the clothes that women can wear.
In a shocking incident in Chennai, Pavithra* (name changed), a techie in Chennai, was embarrassed last week. She was not allowed to take a driving test as a motor vehicle inspector from KK Nagar RTO found her dress “inappropriate”.
While sharing her incident with ToI, Pavitra mentioned:
“I was wearing jeans and a sleeveless top. But I really wanted the license, so I rushed home and returned in a salwar-kameez.”
But Pavitra isn’t alone. About 10 days earlier, Sumati*, a college student, was turned away by the same RTO as she was wearing a Capri and a shirt. When she was asked to go home and change, Sumati argued. But, the inspector gathered some of his colleagues, who also justified the unwritten rule. She shared with ToI:
“I didn’t want to lose my chance to get a license, so I got home and returned wearing salwar-kameez”
As per the advocate, V S Suresh, who handles motor accident cases, the law does not mention anything about any dress code for driving tests. He mentioned:
“The applicant must have reached 18 years of age and must have a sound mind.”
It is saddening that even in the 21st century, some members of society believe that it is their right to police women over their clothes and dictate what they can wear and what they can’t. But this isn’t the first time that women have come forward to raise their voice against such a rudimentary thought process.
Some time back, girl students in Hyderabad were not allowed to attend classes if they wore Kurtis above the knee length or without sleeves. Additionally, the institute also banned shorts, sleeveless and other similar dresses.
In another similar incident, a medical university in Amritsar banned skirts, jeans, and T-shirts for students. For female students, another university in Punjab banned jeans and deep neck T-shirts.
We wonder how will we empower our women if we can’t even let them choose what kind of clothes they can wear?