Vastavam web: In Tunisian high schools, the dress code is not uniform. Actually, it is: but only for girls. Boys can wear what they like, and now the girls are up in arms.One morning, instead of turning up for class wearing the regulation navy blue smock, a defiant group of adolescent girls came to school in white T-shirts instead, demanding an “end to discrimination”.Ironically, the warning was passed on during a philosophy class — about the human body.
This “injustice” inspired many of the girls to take to social networks and vent their feelings, 18-year-old Siwar Tebourbi told AFP.She said the girls agreed to take collective action from the following day “to demand that this discrimination must cease”.Thus was born the “Manish Labsetha” (“I won’t wear it”) campaign, referring to the offending garment.
It was the culmination of a dispute that had been brewing for years.Outraged that the navy blue was imposed on everyone in primary and secondary school but was compulsory in high school only for girls, pupils regularly appeared without it, risking expulsion or seeing their parents summoned.She called it a complete aberration, especially since the country’s new constitution of 2014 says that men and women are equal.The high school students who launched the campaign, both male and female, are also against what they perceive as a wider “hypocrisy”.
“They drill into us at school that men and women are equal, but in practice this is not the case,” said Adam Garci, 17.Imposing the blue uniform on girls at a time when their bodies are undergoing change is not a trivial issue, said her friend Farah Ben Jemaa.”One supervisor told me I couldn’t wear leggings without a smock because I was ‘shapely’, and another told us ‘It bothers the men teachers’,” Ben Jemaa said.Speaking on condition of anonymity, one senior education official found it difficult to explain exactly what was happening.