German beach volleyball players protest against bikini ban is successful

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The first-ever women’s beach volleyball tournament takes place in Qatar in March this year. Karla Borger and Julia Sude, two well-known German beach volleyball players, have threatened to boycott the tournament. The country has strict dress codes for the tournament, including a ban on bikinis. And that is exactly what the ladies wear for work.

German beach volleyball players protest against bikini ban is successful

T-shirt and pants

Borger and Sude say they are usually willing to adapt to local customs, but feel the dress code being proposed is going too far. According to the rules, they have to wear a T-shirt and pants which must be longer than knee-length. But with temperatures reaching up to 27 degrees, the duo feels it is far too hot to play a tournament in anything but a bikini.

 
 
 
 
 
Dit bericht bekijken op Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Een bericht gedeeld door Julia Sude (@juliasudeofficial)

“Qatar is the only country where the government tells us how to do our job. (…) If we are not allowed to wear our work clothes, we cannot work, ” said Borger, vice world champion in 2013, on German radio on Sunday evening.

Because most of the beach volleyball players had no problem adapting to the dress code, the international volleyball association FIVB decided to let the tournament go ahead. The big prize money of 250,000 euros and the small number of tournaments being played because of corona will also be a contributing factor according to the media. But while most accepted the dress code, Sude and Borger’s views made a big impact. The protest gained a lot of publicity and the organization eventually yielded to international pressure. They have since scrapped the strict dress code.

It was a different story in 2019

The ban is linked to the strict dress code people must adhere to in Qatar, whereby the covering of certain body parts is central. But it is still odd that stipulations regarding the player’s clothes were drawn up. Back in 2019, the organization did not take these rules too seriously during the World Beach Games in Qatar. Ladies played in bikinis and men in swimming trunks.

 
 
 
 
 
Dit bericht bekijken op Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Een bericht gedeeld door ANOC World Beach Games (@anocworldbeachgames)

 
 
 
 
 
Dit bericht bekijken op Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Een bericht gedeeld door ANOC World Beach Games (@anocworldbeachgames)

German beach volleyball players protest against bikini ban is successful

So a year ago it was not a problem and now strict rules are drawn up only to be revoked as soon as the media gets involved. It all sounds pretty strange, but I am not surprised.

In 2019, I shared my outrage over the latest Qatar Airways flight attendants’ dress code. Amongst other rules, the ladies had to remove facial and forearm hair. The airline communicated the new rules via an internal memo. But that memo ended up with the trade union FNV, who forwarded the memo to me. My article, which was subsequently discussed in five newspapers, on radio, and various online platforms, received a lot of reactions. People thought the rules were going too far. Soon after the commotion, Qatar Airways withdrew these rules.

So as we see in this story about the beach volleyball players, it looks like Qatar is up to its old tricks again. Pushing boundaries, but quickly giving in when the media gets involved. This proves that it makes sense to speak up when you do not agree with the dress code at work. No matter how big the organization is, the words of two ladies can change the policy. And in my opinion, that’s a good thing.

Greetings,

Aileen 

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