Western Australia-The Uniforms have now been made Gender Neutral

Study Abroad and Gender Neutrality

Irrespective of the earlier scenario, the uniforms in Western Australia have now been made gender neutral. The girls are now allowed to wear pants and other sporting clothes to school instead of being restricted to just wearing dresses and skirts and the other feminine like attires. The step is taken by The Education Department, in response to a complaint from an 11-year-old student. They announced last week that it would amend a statewide dress code to offer girls more uniform options to ensure there is no gender biasness.

The complaints and voices of the parents and students alike, were heard and an immediate step in this direction was ensured.

The case

Krystina Myhre, of Perth, discovered, that her 11-year-old girl Sofia could not wear shorts to school. In response to such hidden inequality they wrote to the state’s education minister; Sue Ellery, calling for a change and taking a strict step in this direction.

She raises a complaint and her statement says that her daughter and her fellow female classmates and companions were not happy with such uniform, showing gender biases and also causing a problem to their comfort level. The complainant Myhre, who is also a representative of Girls’ Uniform Agenda, a group that campaigns for girls to have the option of wearing shorts and pants and other sports dresses made sure her voice was heard. According to her, the rule restricted their movement and participation, she said, making them worry about their body and space.

They could not even participate in athletics and other sports activities because the dress would not allow them to, taking into consideration their comfort level and other practical issues, said Sofia, the 11 year old student. She further adds to her statement and brings to light the facts and problems she had to face like she being an ardent fan of football had to deny herself from playing it because the skirt would not allow, and she calls it to be unfair saying that her brothers were allowed but she could not wear until it was sports period specifically. Her statement reads “I think it’s really unfair that my brothers have been allowed to wear shorts, and all through primary school I haven’t been allowed to except when I have sport,” she wrote in her letter.

The Remedy Devised-Action Taken

Ms. Ellery, of the Education Department, took the immediate, effective and stern step. She said that after meeting with the Myhres, she asked her department to ensure the policy was nondiscriminatory and was brought into being immediately.

This spread like a positive change in this direction, a number of private schools in Perth said this week that they planned to follow suit and introduce the same. “We are introducing trousers for girls next year, but it’s very much an option,” said Robert Henderson, principal of John XXIII College, a Catholic private school. However, after consulting the staff they decided not to remove the traditional dress completely because it is unclear how many schools across Australia require girls to wear skirts.

Girls’ Uniform Agenda after a detailed research lists out that around 70% of public schools still stick to the skirts and traditional dresses in Brisbane, Queensland. However, they allow trousers in winters. But the case differs in private schools.

The Impacts

Such stereotypes create a harmful impact on the minds of an individual female child. They instead of developing their personality, assume and restrict themselves to just sitting and looking pretty whereas the boys become immediate explorers. It is seen that in the schools of such traditional outfit suits the girls are observed to be sitting and boys playing around. To be more accurate with such happenings, a 6-year-old girl was denied from using the washroom by her fellow female classmates just because she was wearing pants-unacceptable as instilled in their minds.

In a study, it was found out that the students wearing pants, trousers, and sports uniform to school had made up their mind and psychology in a way and it somewhere yielded maximum productivity in terms of them being active during recess, athletics and sports activities.

Most education departments let individual schools determine dress code, though they must comply with anti-discrimination policies. In New South Wales, for example, The Department states that rules should take into consideration the diversity of the student population in the school and not disadvantage any student or cause inconvenience to him/her on such accounts. They should be offered an option of gender neutrality.

Since the language is ambiguous, schools might take advantage saying that they are complying with the norms devised, but in a clearer picture are not. As seen, to change the policy, a petition witnessed 20,000 signatures in Victoria.

 Tradition-The Main Argument


Tradition plays a strong part in schools, and one often wants to honor those traditions. Certain schools provide the option to wear pants, but that should be for schools to determine on an individual basis.

Uniform is quite symbolic.

It is often observed that besides schools even parents are somewhere connected to the traditions. There is an emotional thread in the psychology that makes them want their offspring to wear that same dress which once was worn by them. A state of connectivity.

On the idea of changing the dress code, it was also seen that some parents defended skirts as a way to accustom girls to wear dresses in the workplace.

Study Abroad and Gender Equality

Following the path of liberal policies of gender equality and neutrality-“In the real world, a woman gets to choose.” Women can choose whether to put on pants or skirts or a dress. Thus, bringing the girls to the position of having the same choice at schools.

Thus, as Corita Kent puts forth looking ahead of the concept of gender into a deeper aspect, Women’s liberation is the liberation of the masculine in the woman and feminine in the man.” Therefore, liberty to unravel their explorers within.


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I am a study abroad content expert, associated with the study abroad industry since years. I am a firm believer that study abroad is once a lifetime experience and everyone should get a chance of having this experience.

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