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Baku School Board Bans Pants For Female Teachers

(RFE/RL) BAKU, August 17, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Baku's board of education has implemented a new dress code for the upcoming school year that bans female teachers from wearing pants.

Zamina Aligizi, a spokeswoman for the board, told RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service that administrators discussed the issue in May and will implement it when students return to school in September.

"We are speaking about female teachers, because there is not a problem with the way male teachers dress," she said. "It is not recommended that [female] teachers come to school wearing pants."

Aligizi said the board of education is also ordering all schools in the Azerbaijani capital to require students to wear uniforms.

The board said the moves were part of a campaign to boost morale in Baku's schools.

But a female teacher from a Baku school, who requested anonymity due to fear of reprisal, told RFE/RL that the dress code was unfair.

"In the winter, my legs hurt from the cold," she said. "How can I wear a skirt and go to school? I would suffer. Of course I have to wear pants for health reasons. Also, if you look at the bodies of my female colleagues, they look much more serious in pants than, for example, in short skirts."

Spokeswoman Aligizi said the board would discuss the issue again once the school year begins.