Faysal Bank, which goes by its famous catchphrase ‘Bank on Ambition’, seems to have set a rather strange precedent by way of its dress code for female employees in the Islamic Banking department. Whereas men in the department are required to wear proper suits, or the traditional dress provided a formal waist coat is also put on, females are required very strictly to wear headscarfs as well as long gowns. And while they are at it, they must also be very modest in their choice of jewellery, if any, and make sure everything all the way to their wrists is covered perfectly in line with the teachings of the more conservative religious segments of our society.
Ordinarily there is nothing wrong with an institution setting its own standards with regard to dress codes, etc, even if they depart from firmly set industry norms that are not normallly violated, but a clear problem presents itself when there is an element of discrimination when it comes to the way males and femlaes on the workforce are treated. If indeed the bank feels compelled to make sure that all its employees follow strictly traditional dress codes and even forms of expression and behaviour, then it must enforce such policies across the board and not restrict them to only one segment of the human resource. Such attitudes typify the barriers that women face in professional life in our country. That is not to say, of course, that there is any sort of a problem with advocating traditional forms of dresses at workplaces. But, at the risk of repetition, authorities must make sure that their policies are not only not discriminatory but also do not appear to be so. Already this issue has sparked a heated debate on social media. Times have clearly changed and now the bank management will be forced to reconsider its decision.
It would be better if such issues are settled, once and for all, at the industry level if not the national policy level. Everybody, male or female, must have equal rights at all workplaces. It is, at the end of the day, up to the government to make sure that such issues are not cause for needless commotion. Hopefully this matter will be settled before any more needless controversy is created.