Pocket Crusaders

I’ve made my feelings about pockets well known. I believe the lack of pockets in women’s clothing is a feminist issue — having to carry a purse around everywhere makes women less ready to confront the world and less able to interact with it. Now, sure, on the grand scheme of things, lack of pockets is less important than many other kinds of sex inequality — but it still matters.

And I’m not the only one who thinks so.

12 women MP’s marched out of the Kenyan parliament yesterday to protest a rule that bans handbags from the chamber. The rule is a safety precaution since a weapon may be easily hidden in a handbag.

However, some of the women MP’s find this a hardship since their clothing does not contain as many pockets as the clothing of their male colleagues. One of the women who walked out, Amina Abdullah, told a BBC reporter:

“The handbag issue is just one of a number of gender sensitive problems we experience . . . . We tend to require writing material, some of us require glasses . . . . Male MPs put all their pens in their jackets and pockets . . . . ”

This may seem like a small issue, but try to imagine being a legislator and having to make a choice between (a) not having a pen and notebook to take notes and (b) carrying them around in a messy heap like a schoolgirl. Either option makes the women look and perhaps behave less professionally than their male colleagues and impairs their ability to do their jobs. And all because of a lack of pockets.

Posted on November 21st, 2003 by Katxena