Monday 20 May, 2019

‘No sleeveless’ policy almost being thrown out the window

Just weeks after ordering Gender Minister, Olivia Grange, to conduct a review of a controversial Government policy, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has given instructions for the suspension of what is widely considered the discriminatory ‘no sleeveless’ policy across public institutions.

The prime minister has also instructed that a full review be done of public dress code practices nationally.

When he announced the initial review of the longstanding practice of Government agencies prohibiting women wearing sleeveless attire from entering public buildings, Holness received praise from many women who said the move was long overdue.

A news release from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) on Friday said the review has found that while the practice exists to prohibit persons who wear sleeveless from entering Government buildings through dress codes established within particular ministries, departments and agencies, there is no law or official Government policy on which the codes are based.

The release said Cabinet has taken note of the concerns that have been expressed by members of the public, and empathises with the unfortunate experiences that have been shared primarily by women in both extreme and everyday circumstances.

The prime minister has since instructed the Cabinet secretary to write to ministries, departments and agencies of the Government to make them aware that they are not to deny access or services to persons based on their sleeveless attire, as this is not the policy of the Government.

To ensure the formulation of a proper policy in the medium-term, the OPM said Minister Grange has been mandated to formulate - subject to consultation - a Government dress code policy that is aligned with modern considerations as well as the climatic realities of Jamaica.

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