The Speaker of Tanzanian Parliament Job Ndugai announced on Monday that women MPs with false eyelashes and false fingernails may no longer enter the legislative house.
“With the powers vested in me by the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, I now ban all MPs with false eyelashes and false fingernails from stepping into Parliament,” he said on Monday. He also revealed that he would consult with experts before deciding on whether or not to prohibit MPs wearing excessive make-up from entering the building.
Ndugai announced the ban shortly after the Deputy Minister for Health, Dr. Faustine Ndugulile, told the House that women with false eyelashes and false fingernails were more likely to suffer health consequences that place a strain on the East African country’s healthcare system. There are reportedly around 700 cases in the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) of women needing treatment as a result.
Under new rules, women MPs must also adhere to a stricter dress code by refraining from wearing short dresses and jeans, a rule that also applies to female visitors.
Some on social media criticized the move, describing it as an example of the country’s ingrained sexism. As noted by Human Rights Watch, many in the country still holds fairly regressive attitudes towards women’s rights, with child marriage outlawed as recently as 2016. Many also face discrimination in education and are regularly subject to harassment and exploitation by teachers in schools.
This is #Tanzania where Nails and Eyelashes somehow affect the work of the legislative house. Wake me up when this hilarious nightmare ends.
— Carol Ndosi (@CarolNdosi) September 10, 2018
The new rules come a day after Tanzanian President John Magufuli urged women to stop using contraception as the country needs more people. According to figures from the World Bank, the country has around 55.5 million people, a ten million rise from when it gained independence in 1961.
“Women can now give up contraceptive methods,” Magufuli said. “Those going for family planning are lazy … they are afraid they will not be able to feed their children. They do not want to work hard to feed a large family and that is why they opt for birth controls and end up with one or two children only.”
“You have cattle. You are big farmers. You can feed your children. Why then resort to birth control?” he continued. “This is my opinion, I see no reason to control births in Tanzania.”