Nursing Student Fights for Her Right to Wear a Skirt to Campus

Banda Aceh. A student at the Muhammadiyah Nursing Academy in the Aceh capital said on Monday that she had been banned from her campus for wearing a long skirt.

“I was kicked off the campus, forbidden from attending lectures and excluded from final exams by not being given the test forms, and just because I went to school in a skirt,” said Zakiah Drajat, 30. 

She said she had begun wearing skirts to campus the previous semester and was immediately made to feel unwelcome. 

“I wore skirts but it was still in line with academy rules that say students should wear a white top and blue bottom. In the academy’s 2009 regulation book that I received, there was nothing forbidding the wearing of skirts,” she said.
Murtala Daud, deputy director of the academy, said that since it was founded 11 years ago, the academy had had a rule requiring female students to wear loose long trousers. 

“Our school has regulations that must be followed. She violated the regulations, so she incurred sanctions. Every school has its own rules, and students cannot just do as they want,” she said.
She added that if Zakiah felt she could not abide by the school’s rules, she could simply enroll at another academy. 

“For the last final examinations, we offered to let her take the examination wearing a skirt, but with the prerequisite that after the finals she would have to move to another school. She refused to sign the letter,” Murtala said. 

Zakiah said that she did not feel comfortable wearing trousers in public. 

“Even more so when men are looking at me, I feel really uncomfortable and ashamed wearing trousers,” she said. 

“I just want to apply Islamic Shariah law. Just psychologically, I am unable to wear trousers without having an outer layer of a skirt.”
Murtala said that since the nursing academy was founded, there had been no protests over its dress code.
“Only now is there a student who is making this a problem,” she said. 

Zakiah said she was routinely harassed for wearing a skirt on campus, including being kicked out of lectures and sent to the head office. 

She said she hoped that organizations involved in defending women’s rights would come to her assistance and help her continue her studies at the academy, which is run by Muhammadiyah, the country’s second-largest Muslim organization. 

She said she would continue her campaign to be allowed to wear a skirt, although she would have to miss next semester after failing to pass all of her classes. 

Aceh has been allowed to apply partial Shariah law under a broad regional autonomy scheme granted by the central government as a condition of a peace pact signed with the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) in August 2005. 

In other parts of Aceh, district authorities have banned the wearing of tight trousers by women, giving away long skirts to women caught wearing such attire.[]
Nursing Student Fights for Her Right to Wear a Skirt to Campus Nursing Student Fights for Her Right to Wear a Skirt to Campus Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on November 16, 2010 Rating: 5

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