KOZHIKODE: The Kozhikode corporation has always seen its woman employees dressed either in traditional wear like a sari or salwar-kurta. But one fine day, 25 woman staff members came in modern attire or, to be precise, in gender-neutral dresses, surprising the other employees. This was an attempt to assert that what they wanted to wear was their choice.
They came wearing trousers or jeans and shirts as part of the decision taken by the Kerala Municipal and Corporation Staff Union’s (KMCSU) women’s committee. The committee decided to adopt this dressing style at least once a week inspired by the authorities of Balussery Government High School who adopted gender-neutral uniforms.
“Equality for women is something we are extremely passionate about and is something we try to reflect in our work,” KMCSU women’s committee convenor N Sashitha.“Believe it or not, figuring out what to wear for my job could be very stressful, particularly when I was starting out.
In the end, we would opt for a sari or a churidar, as we would feel that there were no other options left. But limiting our dressing style to just two attires is never acceptable, especially at a time when there are no restrictions imposed in the corporation office. We have been given all freedom to dress according to our choice and interest and, hence, we together decided to wear gender-neutral dress,” she added.
“We are not doing this to prove anything. We are just trying to create awareness on the individuals’ right to choose their outfits. People here were shocked to see us dressed differently and hence some laughed at us and others made fun of us. Sari and salwar are often tagged the only decent attires and we just wanted to break this notion of the public.”