Women’s News: Tajikistan High Heels: Female Students Required To Wear Pumps To School

Woman walking in high heels, cropped view of foot

The Huffington Post  |  By 

What is it about authoritarian countries and high heels? Last week, photos emerged of female North Korean soldiers on patrol in high heels. And yesterday,BuzzFeed tipped us off to the report that female students at the Tajik State Pedagogical University in Dushanbe, the capital city of Tajikistan, are required to wear heels as part of their school uniform.

Emma Sabzalieva, a registrar at Oxford and researcher of higher education in Central Asia, brought attention to the problematic footwear edict on her blog. In a post entitled “High heels for higher learning?” Sabzalieva wrote that the University’s rector had imposed a dress code on female students that required them to wear high heels and single-colored clothes to school. She points out that this is significantly more restrictive than the national dress code for university students.

“Could it really be that the Rector believes that ordering such a dress code.. will enhance female students’ learning experience? Will it make them smarter or better equipped to learn?” she asks. “Of course, the answer is no.”

While women-targeted constraints like this are always disheartening, Sabzalieva reported that the reaction on the Facebook page of the national Tajikistan newspaper Asia-Plus had been one of “outrage, disbelief.”

One example: “Where is Tajikistan and its government heading? Rather than starting with high heels… it would be better to strengthen teaching, stop bribe-taking and simply give students the chance to study…”

The public response, at least, is promising.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/15/tajikistan-high-heels-female-students_n_3086505.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women


  1. Hi, thanks for flagging the issue in Tajikistan which I have reported on in my personal capacity as a Central Asia researcher. Whilst many people have been outraged by this, you should also note that, unfortunately, it has not come as a surprise. This is a country ruled by men (in general) with particular perceptions about what is important and what isn’t, and I would argue that those perceptions are a long way from addressing what would really make a difference to Tajikistan. Keep your eyes out for election pledges in the run up to this October’s national elections if you want some real life examples.

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