Turkish Parliament lifts ban on trousers for female lawmakers
Independent Diyarbakır deputy Leyla Zana flouted the ban by wearing trousers as the motion was voted on. AA photoFemale lawmakers will now be able to enter the General Assembly meetings wearing trousers, after a controversial prohibition was lifted in the sequel to the removal of the ban on headscarves.
The debate about the ban on trousers was brought forward by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Şafak Pavey, who had been forced to wear skirts despite having a prosthetic leg.
The proposal to change the Turkish Parliament’s internal regulations regarding trousers was submitted today to the General Assembly vote. Another female figure of the General Assembly, the independent Diyarbakır deputy Leyla Zana, flouted the ban by wearing trousers as the proposal was voted on.
The Kurdish deputy, known for spending 10 years in prison for taking her oath in Kurdish when she was elected to the Parliament in 2011, wore black trousers with an orange jacket.
Sabahat Tuncel, the former Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy who was recently elected the co-chair of the newly established People’s Democratic Party (HDP), also wore trousers during the session.
The modified Article 56 of Parliament’s internal regulations states that “Women shall wear jackets and skirts or jackets and trousers” instead of the previous “Ladies shall wear tailleur,” a strict rule which indirectly banned women from wearing trousers.
The Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission paved the way for the change of regulation last week by approving an amendment allowing for female deputies to wear trousers during General Assembly meetings.
The ban, which has long been a source of complaints from female deputies, was put back on the agenda after several Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies entered a General Assembly meeting on Oct. 31 in headscarves. During her speech at the landmark session, Pavey noted that while women were now permitted to appear in veils in the legislature, Parliament’s internal regulations still prevented them from wearing trousers.
During the session, Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek suggested the trousers issue could be resolved through reconciliation and without any amendment to the internal regulations, as had been the case with the headscarves.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also gave the green light to the change. “After having been through all this, trousers and so forth will be solved,” Erdoğan had said.