Following on from her article yesterday (see Women’s March Sydney: what about girls suffering in Australia? ), Caroline Overington has an article in The Australian dealing with the girls uniform at the Al-Faisal college in Sydney’s west: Call to ban ‘extreme’ dress rules at Islamic school.
At the same time as there are calls for female students not to be forced to wear skirts and dresses at school while boys wore shorts, one Islamic school “requires girls to wear ankle-length dresses even in summer, with knee-length socks or pantyhose underneath. The hijab is compulsory from the age of five, including while the girls are playing sport”.
So what are we to make of this? Many people in Australia support a ban on the wearing of the burqa in public places, and presumably the same people would support action to force this school to loosen its uniform regulations.
But what is the crime here? And what (if anything) should government do to stop it?
Australia is a (mostly) free and open society. We’re generally allowed to wear and do what we want, regardless of gender. For example, women don’t need a male to accompany them outside as is the case in other countries.
There aren’t laws saying this, it’s instead an unwritten rule in our society; a social norm. In the same way, women generally aren’t leered at and spat on when they wear short skirts in Australia either.
These social norms have developed in our society over time. They work best precisely because they aren’t written down in law. Everyone generally accepts them and follows them, at the risk of being shunned or ostracised if they don’t.
Until we try to incorporate a different society into our society, in the name of Multiculturalism.
Banning Burqas and long dresses isn’t the answer. The answer involves us looking at all the effects of Multiculturalism on our society.