Wednesday, January 6

 1/06/2016         No comments

The Gambian government has banned its female employees from showing their hair at work and ordered them to wear headscarves, commonly referred to as the "hijab" in Islam.

The new rule was announced Monday in a memo circulated to all ministries and departments and later obtained by private newspapers and news agencies, just one month after President Yahya Jammeh declared Gambia an Islamic republic due to it's muslim majority population, and a desire to break from its colonial past.

No reasons were given for the introduction of the new rule, which was announced in a memo that was leaked to local opposition newspapers.

The memo, published by Freedom, stated 'all female staff' within government departments were no longer allowed to expose their hair during working hours, effective from December 31.

It went on to urge female staff 'to use a head tie and neatly wrap their hair'.

'All heads of departments and agencies are urgently advised to implement this directive and bring it to the attention of their female staff,' the memo concluded.

On December 11, Jammeh - who is notorious for his alleged human rights abuses and persecution of homosexuals - declared the West African country an Islamic republic.

Although it doesn't appear that his announcement changes Gambia's laws or its constitutional status as a secular state, it could yet form the justification for rules such as that now affecting its female employees.


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