Men’s dressing styles must equally be questioned – gender activists

One Economy Foundation’s gender and child protection activist Veronica Theron says dress codes should also apply to men.

“Nowadays you also find men wearing tight-fitted jeans revealing body parts, however, it is not addressed,” she says.

Theron’s comments come after the International University of Management’s (IUM) main campus in Windhoek recently advised women students to dress “decently” and refrain from wearing crop tops, shorts, revealing tops and miniskirts.

Theron yesterday said this falsely implies women ask to be raped because of what they wear.

“It’s not the clothes that rapes the women, but a perpetrator due to their mindsets.

“I have never seen a scientific study proving higher rates of sexual violence for instance at universities where students are wearing revealing clothes, and less sexual violence where students dressed appropriately,” she said.

“This is victim blaming,” she said.

Gender equality and human rights activist Rosa Namises also questioned why society only questions the way women dress.
“Are they equally concerned about the men?” she asked yesterday.

IUM recently issued a notice with photos of “inappropriate” outfits.

“Women are often corrected and not men. Women are disciplined and punished,” Namises said.

“Men should be addressed for their discomfort rather than addressing women on what they wear,” she said.


Meanwhile, the Namibia National Organisation of Parents in Education (Naope) yesterday extended its support to the IUM.

The organisation’s spokesperson, Alfons Mangundu, said it was not just about university rules, it’s of widespread concern.

“In a world where moral compasses often seem adrift, institutions like the IUM serve as beacons of values deeply rooted in our cultural and Christian heritage.

“At NAOPE, we envision education as more than just academics, it is also about nurturing responsible, morally upright individuals. We applaud IUM for its proactive stance and call upon other institutions to follow suit,” Mangundu said.

IUM founder David Namwandi yesterday said the institution’s regulation on female students’ dress code aims to uphold the university’s reputation.

“The institution has established rules and regulations and I was told the students have been consulted before the notice was issued,” he said.

“It would be a different case if students were not consulted, which is not in line with democratic principles,” Namwandi said.

He emphasised the importance of students complying with the required standards of their future employers to prevent suspensions during internships.

Namwandi said the university has zero tolerance for any form of anarchy at the university.

Theron believes the rules involve the objectification of the female body, absolving men of all responsibility.

Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) spokesperson Dorthea Nangolo yesterday said: “As Nanso, we believe students should be allowed to have a choice in terms of what they want to wear. Institutions of higher learning are not primary schools.

“It is unfair to dictate what they should wear and what is acceptable. We understand you are training professionals, but there are different approaches and it only refers to female students, which is gender-biased,” Nangolo said.

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