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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

July-21-00

Swaziland May Ban Schoolgirls From Wearing Miniskirts To Halt AIDS Spread

The miniskirts of schoolgirls and their effect on teachers are being blamed for the AIDS epidemic in Swaziland. The ban on miniskirts, which will go into effect next year, will require schoolgirls 10 years and older to wear knee-length skirts. Girls who breach the ban face expulsion from school. "We are living in tough times because of HIV/AIDS. We need to address the problem of dress code among students because it all starts from there," stated an official from the ministry of education. Later this week, the parliament will debate legislation that calls for the mandatory sterilization of people infected with HIV. More than a quarter of adults are estimated to be HIV-positive in Swaziland, and life expectancy is estimated to drop to less than 30 years of age by 2010. Patriarchal customs such as wife inheritance, polygamy, and men's refusal to use condoms have been cited by international humanitarian agencies as contributors to the AIDS epidemic. Considering these prominent obstacles, focusing on the clothing of schoolgirls will have no effect on curbing the AIDS crisis. [Source: The Electronic Telegraph - 19 July 2000]

LEARN MORE Click here to read women's narratives about barriers or successes in accessing reproductive health and family planning services.

Media Resources: 19 July 2000 The Jakarta Post, Lexis-Nexis


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