A Newfoundlander working in the State of Qatar says she doesn't find a new modesty awareness campaign launched this week at all restrictive.
The campaign called "Reflect your Respect," includes colourful flyers that explain how foreigners should dress in all public places.
The flyer reads: “If you are in Qatar, you are one of us. Help us preserve Qatar’s culture and values, please dress modestly in public places.”
Shirley Carroll, associate vice-president academic at the College of the North Atlantic campus in Doha, said 'modest' attire excludes short dresses without sleeves, tight-fitting shorts, tank tops, muscle shirts and any item of clothing that would expose a bare midriff.
"My personal opinion is that there is an increasing number of ex-pats who are flooding to Qatar because of the phenomenal growth here. We have a burgeoning population ... right now there are over two million people in the city of Doha and around 300,000 of them are Qatari," Carroll told CBC host Maggie Gillis.
Leggings are not pants
Carroll said leggings are not considered to be modest in the Qatari culture.
"Particularly if nothing is worn over them," she said.
Carroll said there is a strict dress code on CNA's Qatar campus.
"It's part of our expectations of people who come here to work, they're advised ahead of time that all of the Canadians on campus know we have a strict dress code. Men wear shirts and ties and dress pants, and no open shoes. Women wear clothing that is suited to this prestigious institution. We dress very professionally and modestly."
Carroll said she was not aware of any employee who left the country because of the dress code.
There have been previous initiatives to educate foreigners on what the country considers appropriate clothing in public. When asked what had changed to prompt Qatar's latest awareness campaign, Carroll attributed it to the phenomenal growth in the country.
"There are increased numbers of people who are not following the cultural norm regarding appropriate attire. I think there are more people here from other parts of the world. They decided it needs to be done here," she said.
It's estimated that foreign workers make up about 85 per cent of Qatar's population.
There are 600 Canadians, roughly 150 of whom are from Newfoundland and Labrador, working at the College of the North Atlantic campus in Qatar.