By MUHAMMED Sailu BAH
Foroyaa received information that a circular has been sent to all government departments, institutions and agencies requiring all women staff to put on a head ties during working hours.
In order to confirm the veracity of the information, this reporter visited some government and parastatal offices in Banjul on Wednesday, 6 January, 2016 and was shown a copy of a circular from the personnel management office (PMO) dated 4 January and addressed to all permanent secretaries and heads of departments and agencies and copied to the secretary general and head of the civil service. The said circular indicated that an “executive directive has been issued that all female staff within Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies are no longer allowed to expose their hair during officials working hours with effect from December 31, 2015. Female staff are urged to use head tie and neatly wrap their hair.” It further urged the department/institution heads to urgently implement the directive. It concluded that “All are strictly advised to adhere to this new directive.”
At the Social Security and Housing Finance Cooperation (SSHFC), all the female members of staff were seen covering their hair in different forms either as ‘hijab’ or veil or the normal traditional head tie.
When this reporter enquired from one of the female member of staff of SSHFC whether she is putting on a head scarf because of the purported directive, she responded in the positive. “We are told to do this,” she added.
A senior manager told this reporter that he has not yet seen any written communication on the issue but has heard about from people.
Visiting the ministry of basic and secondary education, a similar situation was found there were all the women met on the corridors and in offices are covering their hair. The women who were met in the office of the permanent secretary were also seen covering their hair.
At the Quadrangle which housed many ministries and depertments, only a handful of women, who cannot be confirmed whether they are civil servants or not, were seen not covering their heads. Otherwise, everybody else was putting on either the hijab or the normal traditional head tie.