6 October 2018

Liberia: Finance Ministry Restricting Female Employees Wearing Unnatural, Colored Hairs From Entering Building

Monrovia — Satta not her real name, is currently home because the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), where she works, has asked she and other females to wear only black colored, natural hair.

The Ministry is headed by a male Minister, Mr. Samuel D. Tweah.

Satta was shocked when she was denied entry to her place of work recently because she was not wearing the kind of hair. On that day, though she had her natural hair, she had colored it gold, a sin that male security guards could not allow to go unpunished.

They stopped her from entering and told her that it was against the policy of the Ministry for female employees to be dressed in such manner.

Though she was shocked to be told how to dress in this 21st Century, Satta said her main problem is the Ministry is allowing male security guards to embarrass and humiliate them; adding: "The ministry is a professional working environment and not a high school."

As of the time this newspaper this article, she had her natural hair but the braids were mixed colored, including gold and brown.

Esther (not her real name), who also works at the same MFDP, joined her colleague to saying that they are being humiliated. She called on the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to intervene.

"I know how to dress properly before leaving my house," Esther added.

"I felt ugly after I was stopped from entering," said Tina, who, too, complain of being restricted from entering her office on orders of the Ministry's Administrator.

"I felt my self-esteem go down. Our hair enhance our beauty as females. Restricting us to wear only one kind of hear is like a secondary school. Maybe, they just want us to cut our hair low," she said frustratingly.

To verify that this was happening, our reporter had passed by to see for herself.

She observed that a female employee was stopped and barred from entering. This lady had her natural hair wrapped in gold.

"We are acting on the orders of the Minister, sister," the male security guards told this female, who looked visibly perplexed.

It seems only female employees are the ones affected by the new policy at the moment. Our reporter observed some males, whose displayed MFDP identification card and wore 'funny' hair on their heads, were allowed to enter.

"We were told to only stop these girl dem, my sister," one of the guards told FrontPageAfrica when our reporter inquired why male employees were being allowed.

Despite, Satta complaining about this new move by her bosses, some employees, including fellow females, agree with the policy.

However, at least two of those who agree, told this newspaper that the Ministry needs to now define the specific colors that they won't tolerate from female employees and should not be left open.

This newspaper understands that the policy on barring female employees with colored and unnatural hairs from entering their offices began on October 1, 2018.

Accordingly, the Ministry said any employee, who violates this policy and that person is not allowed in office, that person's salary would be reduced by the number of days she would choose not to come to work as that person not being in office would be treated as an unauthorized absence.

The MFDP employee handbook section 7.4 titled, "Personal Appearance," line three states: "Unnatural colored hair (Green, Pink etc.) and extreme hairstyles such as spiked hair do not present an appropriate professional experience."

Satta, who had told FPA about this new development at the nation's monetary house, is urging her bosses to rescind this aspect of the policy as it discriminatory against female employees.

"I am a professional woman I wouldn't put on myself what is not good for the public. In fact, I am not dressing for the public but for my professional look."

Patience Senkpeni Kumeh, Communications Director at MFDP, promised to call back as she was consulting with the Administration, but could not pick up calls three times our reporter contacted her again on Friday and Saturday.

Text messages were sent to her but she still did not reply either nor did has she returned the calls.

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