Local News

Primary school bans girls from wearing shorts or trousers

“It’s antiquated, sexist and discriminatory.”

A mother has been left shocked after her daughter’s request to wear trousers to school so she could be warm and play sport with her male school friends was rejected.

The Melbourne Catholic school turned down the request made by Simone Cariss and her six-year-old daughter Asha, telling them female pupils had to stick to the uniform code of dress in summer and a tunic and tights in winter.

Furious at the decision, Mrs Cariss launched a petition for the local government to make a change, urging people against the ‘antiquated and sexist’ policy.

In the petition – which currently has over 7,000 signatures – Mrs Cariss says: “My daughter simply wants the right to wear pants or shorts at school – not just on sports days but everyday.”

“It’s 2016 after all and she is still forced to wear a dress (which is very different from choosing to wear a dress).”

“It’s antiquated, sexist and in my view discriminatory.”

She continued: “My daughter, like many other girls, simply wants the choice to wear pants like half of her peers, with the warmth and freedom to be active at school and travelling to/from school.”

“She constantly asks “why can’t I wear pants like the boys?” “Because you’re a girl” is not something I am prepared to say to my 6 year old daughter.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Education and Training told The Age said schools have the power to implement their own dress codes.

But a report on uniforms by the Victorian Government says: “The Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development recognises gender differences in dress codes and school uniform policies as an area of risk with respect to discrimination.”

“In general, where options are to be available, they should be available to both boys and girls.”

In New Zealand, school uniforms never seem to be far from the headlines.

In April, Henderson High School came under fire after a group of year 11 students were told their skirts needed to be lowered to the knees.

According to reports, the deputy principal told the group longer skirts were needed to keep the girls safe, to stop boys from getting ideas and to create a good work environment for male staff.

While, in February, Massey High School students petitioned the school’s Board of Trustees to scrap their new uniforms, which they claimed were too hot to learn in during summer.

Related stories


Get your favourite magazines home delivered!  

Subscribe and save up to 38% on a magazine subscription.