Turkmenistan’s female teachers barred from using nail polish and obliged to wear female “balak” pants

Last Friday, 21 female instructors of Dashoguz Agriculture Institute were warned about strict compliance with the national dress code which includes wearing balak pants. Before classes on Monday, representatives of the Chancellor's office asked female educators to prove they were wearing pants by slightly raising their dresses. Only after this were the teachers allowed to enter classrooms.

On 19 and 20 April meetings bringing together representatives of administrations of secondary and pre-school educational establishments were held in Dashoguz and etrap centres of Turkmenistan's northern province. In Dashoguz Ruhyyet KAlsgi (The Palace of Spirituality) was the meeting's venue whereas in etrap centres, for instance, in Gubadag (formerly Telmansk) and Gerogly (formerly, Takhta) the meetings were held in local Medeniyet Alyi (House of Culture). The meetings were chaired by deputy khyakims overseeing education and culture of the relevant local authorities.

Officials emphasized that historic and cultural traditions of Turkmens need to be respected and ethnic roots preserved. In particular, they touched upon apparel and appearance of teaching staff. Men are obliged to wear dark suits, white shirts and a tie at work. More requirements are imposed on females: traditional straight cut ankle-length dresses called Yanly, black scarves with yellow ornaments called Oyme and balaks � pants with embroidery on the lower part worn under dresses. Moreover, females are requested not to use nail polish, eyebrow pencils, have lash extensions or bleach their hair.

Visits to cafes and restaurants by both female and male educators are not encouraged, with the exception of weddings and other large-scale celebrations and traditional festivities.

As Chronicles of Turkmenistan has previously reported, females employed in Turkmenistan's public sector were barred from using nail polish and dye or bleaching their hair. After the new requirements had been introduced, customs officials prohibited the import of blond hair colours as well as highlighting and hair bleaching chemicals.

Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan