Honduras has the highest murder rate in the Americas, with thousands of children fleeing to the U.S. to escape gang violence. But some officials in the Central American country are distracted by more delicate matters —namely hemlines of their female peers.
Last week female employees of Honduras’ congress were informed they are no longer allowed to wear short skirts or revealing tops to work. Shirts that reveal midriff and blouses that show too much cleavage are now banned in Honduran congress, according to a letter sent to employees by Mario Calderon, the head of the congressional human resources department.
Women who violate the new dress code will not be allowed to enter the building.
The new rules, which enter into effect on Sept. 1, don't spare the men either. Congressmen and male staffers will be banned from wearing faded jeans, sneakers and “pants that are too tight.”
According to Honduran newspaper El Heraldo, the new dress code was implemented “with the objective of improving the image” of the Honduran congress, an institution that has been marred by corruption scandals in recent years.
Legislators reportedly had no say in the matter, and not everyone is pleased. Kritza Perez, a congresswoman for the Anti-Corruption Party, said that the new dress code discriminates against women.
“I think, it absurd, it’s a joke and it’s offensive,” Perez told the Europa Press news agency. She vented against the measure on her Twitter account.
“No one here works with mini skirts and shirts that show cleavage,” wrote Perez, a former beauty queen. “There are more important issues that should be making the news.”
Calderon, who implemented the new policy, was not available for comment at the time of publication.
But this isn’t the first time that a branch of the Honduran government has cracked down on miniskirts.
In 2011, the Honduran department of justice prohibited female employees from wearing shirts with “pronounced cleavage,” short skirts, tight pants, “transparent pants," jeans, sleeveless tops and capri pants.
Men were banned from wearing sneakers, t-shirts and jeans.
Manuel Rueda is a correspondent for Fusion, covering Mexico and South America. He travels from donkey festivals, to salsa clubs to steamy places with cartel activity.