Girls’ Uniform Agenda is an Australia wide group, comprising parents, academics, educators and health professionals. We aim to:
- Support parents and girls who seek to have uniform policy changes implemented in their schools;
- Encourage school leaders to recognise that girls should be offered a range of suitable formal and informal uniform options, including shorts and long pants;
- Work with uniform suppliers to increase the range of girls’ shorts and pants options available; and
- Campaign for legislative and policy change in this area.
Girls’ Uniform Agenda Executive include:
Simone Cariss (Co-founder, Director, Victorian representative)
Simone is an Occupational Therapist, small business owner and mother to two children, Asha and Baxter. Simone began the fight for the right of girls to choose between shorts, pants, skirts and dresses in school when her primary school aged daughter Asha was denied the right to wear pants to school.
Simone created the Change.org petition to highlight the need for legislation that requires all schools to offer girls choices in their school uniforms. The petition has now been signed by more than 21,000 people. Simone co-founded Girls’ Uniform Agenda with Amanda Mergler in February 2017. Read more about Simone and Asha’s story here.
Dr Amanda Mergler (Co-founder, Director, Queensland representative)
Amanda is a psychologist and mother to two children, Benjamin and Sophie. Amanda began the fight for choice for girls at school when she realised that her son could wear shorts to school, while his female classmates could not. By the time her daughter entered Year 1, the school had allowed girls to wear the boys shorts, but refused to offer shorts made for girls.
Amanda’s article for The Conversation asking why girls are made to wear skirts and dresses to school has been read by over 141,500 people. Amanda co-founded Girls’ Uniform Agenda with Simone Cariss in February 2017. Read more about Amanda and Sophie’s story here.
Amy Blain (Director, Australian Capital Territory representative)
Amy is a passionate gender equality advocate, most recently focusing on preventing violence against women. Amy is a full-time parent to a vibrant nearly-four year old, Evie, and fiercely guards against gender stereotypes limiting children being who they want to be.
Amy sighed when seeing that uniform debates are still raging a decade on from her having the same arguments at school back in the UK. Amy is determined that Evie will not face the same restrictions because there’s actually no good reason for girls not to have the choice of wearing shorts and pants. Read more about Amy and Evie’s story here.
Krystina Myhre (Western Australia representative)
Krystina is an occupational therapist and mother to three children. Krystina began the fight for girls in relation to school uniforms when her daughter’s public school refused to allow her to wear shorts to school. After many conversations with the principal, and a few well researched and carefully worded letters, the School Board agreed to allow girls to wear shorts.
Krystina and her daughter Sofia were successful in convincing the Minister for Education in WA that all girls in all school should have the right to wear shorts, and the state dress code was amended accordingly. Read more about Krystina and Sofia’s story here.
Lizz Clarke (Western Australia Representative)
As a registered nurse with postgraduate qualifications in Sexology (Curtin University) and Medical Science (Glasgow), Lizz has worked closely with teens and adults in the health arena across the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. She is concerned about the fair treatment of girls and women worldwide.
Lizz joined Girls’ Uniform Agenda when learning that future high school choice for her daughter was compromised by inequitable uniform policy. Lizz believes in fairness, kindness and wine, and tries not to take life too seriously. As a Mum to a high school aged boy and a primary school aged girl, Lizz is currently experiencing all the thrills of parenting. Read more about Lizz and her daughter’s story here.
Alison Boston (New South Wales representative)
Alison is a writer and communications specialist, and mother to two children, Wesley and Sadie. Alison is passionate about the rights of women and girls, and joined Girls’ Uniform Agenda to advocate for change in schools so that her daughter, now aged 4, will not be disadvantaged at school when she starts, but also to support girls across NSW and Australia.
Alison was disappointed to learn that most schools in her local area do not provide appropriate short and pant options for girls, and is frustrated that her schooling options for her children are limited by this situation. Read more about Alison and Sadie’s story here.
Associate Professor Sarah Cohen-Woods (South Australia representative)
Sarah is a Matthew Flinders Research Fellow in the School of Psychology at Flinders University in Adelaide, and a mother of two girls. Sarah has been fortunate with her daughter’s school agreeing to introduce trousers in response to her enquiries, however the inequity of uniform choice struck a chord with Sarah.
Sarah’s research into the genetic and environmental risk factors for poor mental health and physical outcomes (such as obesity) made her acutely aware of the importance of equal opportunity for active play and comfort. Sarah is now leading a study into the impact of new uniform procedures in South Australia, and investigating how uniform choice may impact childrens’ well-being. Read more about Sarah and her daughter’s story here.
Please also see GUA’s Young Uniform Activists here.
We would love to hear from you if you are also seeking to create positive change for girls in schools. Contact Us Here.
Girls’ Uniform Agenda was co-founded by Dr Amanda Mergler and Simone Cariss.
Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is general in nature and is not intended to be formal advice on any matter. It is for information only and is not legal advice.