The Jakarta Post
To celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day, female rights advocacy groups joined with the Yogyakarta Women’s Struggle Committee (KPP) to stage a rally on Thursday to call for the fulfillment of women’s rights and the freedom to wear clothing of their choice, including face veils.
“We condemn a current ban on female students wearing face veils,” KPP Yogyakarta spokesperson Linda Sugondo said during a rally at Titik Nol (Zero Point) Monument in Yogyakarta on Thursday.
Face veils worn by some Muslim women have become a hot topic for debate after Sunan Kalijaga Islamic State University (UIN Suka) in Yogyakarta registered student candidates who wore face veils and gave them counseling sessions. If after receiving the counseling sessions they insisted on wearing face veils, the university asked them to move to other universities.
“In a democracy, every individual has the right to choose the way they wear clothes or express themselves,” said Linda.
For equal rights: Activists protest a university regulation that prohibits female students from wearing face veils during a rally to celebrate 2018 International Women’s Day at Titik Nol (Zero Point) Monument in Yogyakarta on March 8. (JP/Bambang Muryanto)
Although in many cases the wearing of face veils is considered an attempt to control women's bodies, Linda believed that wearing a face veil was a choice all people should respect.
“It’s the right of every woman to choose. Wearing a face veil or not is not a solution. The most important thing is that the state provides prosperity for its people,” said Linda.
Separately, UIN Suka’s School of Dakwah (religious proselytization) and Communication deputy dean Abdur Rozaki said that historically, face veils were used as a tool to discriminate against women and control their bodies. (ebf)