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Top 4 African Countries With The Most Repressive Dress Codes

Clothing regulations (Dress code) have constantly characterized the way of life of social orders. In Africa, for instance, clothing standards recognize a liberal nation from a moderate one. Truth be told, the choice on what or what not to wear stays one of the significant choices settled on by abusive African administrations like Zambia, where a parliamentarian named Edith Nawakwi was forced out of Parliament for dressing improperly.

Here is a list of African countries with the strictest dress codes as published by the World Economic Forum.

Women ordered to wear head scarves in Gambia (Photo:

Women ordered to wear headscarves in Gambia (Photo:

After declaring the state an Islamic republic, President Yahya Jammeh’s Republic of Gambia made the headlines when it announced a new policy that required female government workers to wear headscarves in public.

“All female staff within the government ministries, departments, and agencies are no longer allowed to expose their hair during official working hours…Female staff are advised to use head ties and neatly wrap their hair,” a strict executive order stated.




The situation is no different in this northeast African nation where women who dress “indecently” are liable to strict punishments such as public flogging. In fact, in 2015, nine women were given 40 lashes in public. Their crime? Wearing western-style slacks! The punishment, which may be linked to sharia law, does not only apply to women, however. Men have also being convicted and dealt with by authorities for dressing indecently and wearing make-up.

Nigeria's female lawyers clash over discriminatory dress code (

Nigeria’s female lawyers clash over discriminatory dress code (

No one ever thought that West Africa’s largest economy of Nigeria could be faced with clashes over how appropriate a dress code is until the country’s army and lawyers clashed over an order by the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai. It stated that all civil lawyers must appear in robes before a military court. He cited section 131(2)(d) of the Armed Forces Act, which deals with convening a special court-martial to try offending officers of the Nigerian Army, as his defense.



Under Article 483 of the penal code, Moroccan law spells out a penalty of up to two years in jail for anyone found guilty of committing an act of “public obscenity” – also known as dressing indecently. Despite efforts to strictly observe this order, activists keep winning the battle against the said repressive penal code as two Moroccan women were acquitted of charges of gross indecency after wearing short skirts in public.


Written by How Africa

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