An e-mail written by the team leader of the district council of Nieuw-West in Amsterdam has told women they cannot wear ‘skirts/dresses above the knee’ and ‘knee-high boots’ if they work at the council office counter, where citizens come and get municipal permits and documents. By extension, if this were to be applied, they might have to fear for their jobs. And a happy belated International Women’s Day to you, too.
Assuming the team leader is a man, although their identity is currently being investigated, he has no power to tell women or anyone else what to wear, which clearly goes against the regulations of the city of Amsterdam as a whole. Questions are being asked by local politicians we know personally about these ‘absurd’ rules that target women. The assumption being made is that Nieuw-West, a district with a large Muslim population, is trying to spare them the view of decadent Western women as spring approaches, but nobody asked their opinion. Assumption number three is that the team leader saw a short skirt with knee-high boots that ‘bothered’ him, to use 1920s parlance, and so he decided to attack all women and offend a lot of men in the process.
Why fill in an entire group’s opinion without asking them? Not a single letter of complaint can be found at the offices, either. Sadly, Nieuw-West is the butt of many jokes, despite having a vibrantly diverse community. If it had more bars and wasn’t so far from the city centre, it could be my kind of ‘hood. It’s cheaper that most places, has big green parks, world-class street art, and food markets that makes you feel like you’re not in Amsterdam. But it takes one absurd e-mail to give the Dutch Internet a reason to trash Nieuw-West and attack its Muslim community.
Maybe this team leader needs to take a course on how to deal with his 1950s view on women in the workplace and not try and change the world around him to suit his backwards views.
UPDATE: The team leader was actually a woman who saw a colleague wearing a skirt she found too short, but instead of communicating with her one on one like a normal person, she felt an email that would cause an unnecessary stir was the way to go.