Author Archives: Amanda Mergler

Public School Communities Want Girls in Shorts and Pants

What results would you get if you surveyed parents, teachers and principals and asked: should girls be forced to wear dresses and skirts to school? While it appears blatantly discriminatory, and Australian states have anti-discrimination legislation preventing it, many schools are still doing this. There must be widespread support from parents, teachers and principals, for girls to have uniform choice, surely? South Australia says no to forcing girls to wear dresses and skirts Thanks to the South Australian

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School Uniforms: Reinforcing Harmful Gender Stereotypes

While we all have opinions about school uniforms, and the impact they may have on girls, it is fascinating to read scholarly research in the area.  Recently, I read a PhD thesis completed in 2015 by Dr Sue (Susan) Bennett of Deakin University called Gender Relations in Elite Coeducational Schools. This research involved three elite coeducational schools in Melbourne, Australia.  It included interviews and informal conversations with staff and students; and observations in classrooms and during lunchtime and extra-curricular activities. Dr Bennett’s

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Girls Wearing Shorts to School: Taking Action on an Age-old Problem

We often hear schools say no-one has ever raised the issue of girls wearing shorts or pants.  Often we hear from parents who are pleased to hear about Girls Uniform Agenda; they had thought they were the only person who felt uniform choice was important.  After all, the P&C, and the Principal, had said that nobody had ever asked if girls could wear shorts or pants. We know this can’t be true.  This argument is

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American girls wear shorts and pants at school. How much longer for Australian school girls?

“Who is old enough to remember…when girls could not wear pants to school?” The question on this Facebook post frustrated me; we know that anyone alive today in Australia is old enough to remember this, it still happens. After digging a little deeper, I realised the post had originated in America, and the majority of the comments underneath were from Americans. While America still has a small number of schools that do enforce uniform, most American schools do not.

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Sisters are doing it for themselves, while Education Ministers do little

I would like to introduce you to Marlie. Marlie is not an Education Minster. She is however a powerful 8 year old girl who lives in South Australia and is in Grade 3. Marlie hates dresses, and has not chosen to wear one since she was 3 years old. At her Catholic primary school however, Marlie was required to wear a dress, in summer and in winter, just like all her female classmates. That was

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Girls’ school uniforms and sex discrimination.

I was telling a colleague recently about the work Girls’ Uniform Agenda does in advocating that all girls in all schools across Australia have the option of shorts and pants as everyday school wear. My colleague looked at me and stammered, “but, but, don’t schools have to allow that? Don’t we have legislation that means they are required to do that already?” Legal loopholes I have faced this comment before. In fact when I first

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It takes a village

When you fight for something you believe in it’s a bit like being on a continual roller coaster – you have ups, and you have downs. When you have an up, you realise you need to seize that moment and roll around in it, drinking it in and allowing it to power you up for the fight that’s still ahead. So, in that spirit, allow me to roll around in our latest win! Change across

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The pink tax on school uniforms

Have you heard about the “pink tax?” For a number of years now, various groups have been drawing attention to the fact that there’s inequality in what people pay for gender specific products. This hidden tax often makes the “female” version of popular products more expensive than the “male” version. Get Up began raising awareness about the pink tax back in 2015, when they invited people to submit photos of everyday items where identical or

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