WE SAY

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE -

Gen­der-neu­tral uni­forms in schools are a de­vel­op­ing trend.

Some dis­like the call by the sec­ondary teach­ers’ union the PPTA for stu­dents to have a choice over uni­forms. Strict­ly­gen­dered cloth­ing re­in­forces gen­der stereo­types and norms, the PPTA said.

In fact, there is no rea­son why uni­forms can’t eas­ily be made gen­der-neu­tral, and there are good rea­sons why they should. Girls wear­ing dresses might well find that they are more re­stric­tive than the usual boys’ uni­forms. So why should they be put at a dis­ad­van­tage?

Two years ago the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion de­creed that schools could con­sider gen­der-neu­tral cloth­ing choices when uni­forms were re­viewed. Many schools are al­ready do­ing this.

At Frey­berg High School in Palmer­ston North, for ex­am­ple, girls can wear a com­plete set of boys’ uni­form, and boys can wear girls’ uni­forms, but they can’t mix and match. More and more schools have gen­der-neu­tral uni­forms while al­low­ing girls to wear skirts rather than shorts if they wish.

This is the sen­si­ble way to keep ev­ery­one happy. Gen­derneu­tral­ity as a de­fault po­si­tion, and free­dom to opt for the more tra­di­tional uni­form as well.

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