All schools should allow girls to wear trousers if they wish, according to a new report.
The Let Clothes Be Clothes (LCBC) campaign is calling for gender neutral school uniforms in a bid to eradicate gender stereotypes.
It says 'uniform policies should be equal, practical and comfortable for all pupils. Schools should create a cohesive uniform strategy based on logo, colours or patterns - not around what girls should wear, and what boys should wear'.
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Its report 'School Uniform: Dressing Girls to Fail', says that 'schools must start listening to girls' and suggests that 'gender rules around clothing are outdated, and largely perpetuated by lucrative market segmentation'.
'Schools must stand up for girls," it says. "Uniform policies should be equal, practical and comfortable for all pupils. Schools should create a cohesive uniform strategy based on logo, colours or patterns - not around what girls should wear, and what boys should wear."
Let Clothes Be Clothes, a campaign to end gender stereotyping in the design and marketing of childrenswear, says school uniform should provide a choice of generic trousers, shorts, dresses and skirts for all pupils.
Its proposal to the Department for Education states: "A gender-neutral approach should be based on eradicating gender stereotypes (ie, ‘girls should wear this,’ and ‘boy should wear that’), not removing clothing items that have traditional gender markers which only serves to perpetuate gendered rules around clothing, for example, skirts should only be worn by girls."
What do you think about your child's school uniform policy? Can girls wear trousers if they wish? Do you think they should be allowed to? , or share your views on our Manchester Family Facebook page, where parents have also been sharing their opinions on school shoes.
The report comes after pupils at Wirral Grammar School for Girls won their fight to be able to wear trousers.
Following their petition, signed by thousands of people including celebrities and politicians, the headteacher agreed to amend the uniform policy from September.
LCBC campaigners say such requests by pupils and parents 'won't stop - because their request is reasonable'.
By giving pupils a choice in what they wear, they say it makes costs equal for parents, doesn't reinforce gender stereotypes and 'encourages sharing/handing down of clothes between siblings'.
Explaining why they produced the report, LCBC's Francesca Mallen said: "We know that for some parents cost of uniform is a major barrier in accessing certain schools, and for almost a quarter of all parents those costs mean children are sent to class in ill fitting or dirty clothes.
"Uniform is less the social leveller, and more a hindrance to pupils - in particular girls, who face more rules, more discipline over modest dress and higher costs than boys."
She added: "Parents are right to question uniform policies, and demand better, fairer rules - especially since it is a cost they are forced to bare! We would ask schools to revisit their uniform policies and ask are they fair? Are they equal for girls and boys? Can we be more flexible? Standing up for girls from inequality, harmful gender stereotypes and sexual harassment starts right here."
You can read the full report here.
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