The ban on mini-skirts in some government institutions covers up the harassment culture in most Nigerian offices.

The mini-skirt, as small as it is seems to cause a lot of fuss in government institutions.
On August 29, 2016, the management of the
Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) apparently banned its female staff from wearing certain types of clothes and skirts » . Of course, one of the mini-skirt was among them.


The ban raised a discussion online about what type of dressing is decent and indecent. According to the internal memo indecent dressing includes ” tight jeans trousers, cut-off trousers, mini-skirts/dresses, tummy and navel shirt transparent/exposing outfits, spaghetti strapped dresses, mismatched clothes, rubber slippers, tattered shoes and rough hairstyles.”

There is really no point in highlighting the fact that what is deemed indecent by the management of NPA pertains to women. The weird thing is that a woman, Managing Director of the NPA Hadiza Usman who dresses rather ‘conservatively’ is the person behind the dress code.

What is it about a woman’s dressing that has a lot of people all riled up? Women in advanced parts of the world wear mini-skirts to work, why does Nigeria’s narrative have to be different?

While the private sector isn’t too particularly bothered about mini skirts in the workplace, it is the public sector filled with ghost workers and mediocrity that restricts want a female staff wears.
In February 2014, the Lagos state government banned ‘indecent dressing’ among its female public servants. Indecent dressing should also apply to men too. Trying to fit a pot belly into a fitted shirt should be a no-no.

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On a serious note, a lot is said about indecent dressing but nothing is said about sexual harassment in offices. There is no official statistic on sexual harassment in Nigerian offices but I am pretty sure that the numbers will be high.

The conservative will argue that dress codes will help reduce sexual harassment, but we all know that is not these things go. A woman will be harassed at her work of place if she wears a mini-skirt or not. A lot of companies in Nigeria, instead of protecting women, a bully with them with gender insensitive rules and laws.

Mini-skirts are not the problem. A culture of sexual harassment that has been left unchecked for decades is the problem.