A Turkmen official denied discrimination against women

A Turkmen official denied discrimination against women regarding dress code and obtaining a driving license. But what is the reality?

Turkmenistan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Vepa Hajiyev said that there is no dress code for women in the country and denied information about restrictions in issuing them driving licenses. The official made such a statement at a briefing for foreign diplomats and journalists in Ashgabat on 16 November 2023. This was reported by RIA “Novosti”.

According to Hajiyev, Turkmenistan has no separate or special requirements for women’s clothing. A dress code is only for the weaker sex in higher education institutions, and such requirements exist in universities in many other countries.

In fact, in April 2022, the authorities of Turkmenistan banned women from receiving cosmetic services, getting manicures, dyeing their hair in light colors and short haircuts, having Botox procedures, and much more. Those who walked down the street without a headscarf or held their husband’s hand were detained. Female employees of government offices were required to wear long dresses with covered necklines. In addition, women were asked to sign waivers for cosmetics under threat of dismissal. And then the matter reached the absurd – there were reports that those who wanted to look beautiful were fired for violating the ban. Do the authorities continue to believe that they do not violate human rights in this way and that such actions do not discriminate against the population?

The Turkmen diplomat also denied the information about restrictions in issuing driving licenses to women. In his words, he referred to cases when women cannot pass driving tests. He said that such cases are also found among men who “fail” the test.

Interestingly, in October this year, women faced another age restriction when entering driving schools. There, girls were told that the Ministry of Transport and Internal Affairs had ordered them not to enroll. Therefore, according to the new requirement, to get a driving license, a woman must be 41 years old, and have a marriage certificate, and a reference from her place of work.

Meanwhile, the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not provide any information about the briefing and discussion of discrimination against women.