Published in TEN Eyewitness News on June 16, 2017
Winter can be a dreaded time for Aussie school girls. The boys get to don their slacks against the cold, while girls are forced to tough it out in skirts and dresses, with nothing but some thin stockings for protection.
But the winds of change are in the cool air.. with a new survey revealing a majority of school parents want a shakeup to uniform protocol.
The findings by key parent group South Australian Association of State School Organisations found that over 90 per cent of school parents surveyed think girls shouldn’t have to adhere to ‘traditional’ style uniforms.
The group’s Director David Knuckney said it wasn’t just parents who were against the uniforms.
“With negative gender stereotypes known to have disastrous impacts on female students, is it time to rethink making them dress like ‘girls’?” he told the Adelaide Advertiser.
“While schools have long held that uniforms improve discipline, experts, parents and students are now calling school uniforms sexist – a discriminatory disadvantage.”
A quarter of principals surveyed even supported chucking out uniforms all together.
But some educators say too much choice can be dangerous for students.
Mitcham Girls High principal Antoinette Jones said that students were generally less well behaved on casual clothes days.
“They are more rowdy, they are louder, they maybe don’t engage in their learning as much, and we don’t know why.”
Ms Jones said that uniforms also act as a ‘leveller’ between different socio-economic backgrounds.
Most schools are moving towards ‘flexible’ options for girls and a chosen dress code rather than a specified school uniform.
These include gender neutral options for both boys and girls rather than strict rules on what either can wear.
Ms Jones said that her school has a “wide range” of options so students could wear “whatever makes them comfortable”.