The only way to improve the horrific rate of domestic violence in our world is to start at the root of the problem and address gender inequity.
Gender based school uniforms
If we insist on dressing our children in identical clothing to attend school it is time to question what it is we are expecting them to wear and why.
Today Women’s Health and Wellbeing Barwon South West asked:
What are your thoughts on the compulsory school uniform for girls still being skirts or dresses in many schools? We think that the option of wearing pants or shorts should definitely be an option and not a privilege!
Interesting question. Why are school uniforms different for girls and boys? It certainly throws a challenge for parents who are consciously avoiding gender stereotype when school arbitrarily separate boys and girls with the dress code.
In early primary school there is little practical physical difference in the shape of male and female bodies. Yet the differences are imposed from day one of school. As puberty changes children’s bodies’ they may need clothes tailored in different ways as bodies expand in various directions but it is not for academic reasons.
The difference in uniform is tradition. This is tradition not in the enjoyable “Yay its Christmas, let’s decorate a pine tree and eat roast turkey” way, but in the potentially damaging “Girls and boys are different and girls need to act in a ladylike manner when they play” kind of way.
How can girls play freely, without risking displaying their underwear hanging upside down on monkey bars, cartwheels and handstands if they are mandated to wear skirts? Clearly the message to our daughters is to keep both feet on the ground and knees together.
What about the children struggling with gender identity? For some people gender is not a straightforward thing. We are surrounded by people who say that a girl looks this way and a boy looks that way, and if a child does not fit easily into one of those two categories, it makes life difficult.
Surely children have the right to express their own identity in a way that is most comfortable to them.
Children aren’t born with bias.
Children are not born with bias, they are taught them and I believe schools must examine the inequity of gender specific uniforms they impose. This isn’t going to remove gender disparity but it will send a message that children are at school on an equal playing field.
Uniform, as the word suggests, should unify students, instead of dividing them.
Women’s Health and Wellbeing Barwon South West