Author Archives: Amy Blain

Prizewinning: Judge Us On Ability, Not On Dress

Your daughter’s about to go on stage for her public school’s awards’ ceremony, everyone should be excited.  Except they’re not, a daughter in tears, an exasperated mother and a principal bursting with anger.  This story shows that even when schools offer uniform choice, the shaming, guilt and pressure  on girls to conform to gender expectations is ever-present.  And girls’ appearance can still outweigh ability. When schools offer choice – it needs to be authentic and

Read More

Who wears the pants? Whoever wants to!

Story from a Young Uniform Activist Fight for what you believe in, because change is necessary. Young activist Fifteen-year-old, Jess Insall, from Glasgow, Scotland, shows just how simple uniform change can be:  “Instead of saying ‘girls wear this, boys wear that’ schools can simply say ‘pupils may wear either this, or that’.” Jess shares her story below to inspire other young uniform activists to speak out and stand up for their right to wear pants (trousers):

Read More

The Dress Trap – Equality and the School Dress

We’re a long way from achieving gender equality however you look at it.  When we ask young girls what they think, they say they feel judged on their appearance and don’t feel equal to boys, not even at school. “More than half of Australian girls report that they are most often valued for their looks, not their brains and ability.” Schools give these reasons for dress and skirt only uniforms: “It’s tradition, it’s always been

Read More

Dressing for Work: are school dresses preparation for future careers?

“Looking ‘business-like’, ‘dressing the part’, power-dressing’ in the corporate world and being ‘taken seriously’ in the halls of parliament.” Preparing schoolgirls for the world of work is still given as a reason for dress and skirt-only uniform policies. Let’s look at workplaces that require women to wear a dress… The world of work has transformed dramatically over the decades for women. No Australian workplace can insist on women wearing skirts or dresses, because it’s against

Read More

Keeping Girls Active – Ditch the Dress

Woah!  A ‘D grade’ for overall physical activity – that’s a fail.  Our school children aren’t getting the recommended 60 minutes of daily exercise.  They’re essentially getting a ‘D grade’ for both overall physical activity and sedentary behaviours.   That’s pretty alarming.  We can agree we ‘must try harder’ on getting school kids to be active.  Active for longer than sports lessons The school day is long and Health & Physical Education (HPE) lessons relatively short. 

Read More

Get Your Pants On For Girls! 

“Girls can wear shorts or pants, they just choose not to.”  Really?  It doesn’t sound likely does it?  In schools, particularly all-girls schools, is it really likely that none of the students wants to wear shorts or pants!?  Let’s put it out there that maybe something else is really going on here.  If girls are choosing not to wear shorts and pants when they could, it probably has more to do with the stigma around

Read More

Girl Power – supporting girls who take a stand

  “Dear Mr Payne. Why can’t girls wear shorts for the summer? I am still wearing my trousers, shirt and tie but it’s a bit hot, but I don’t want to wear a dress because: 1. They show your pants 2. They are hard to run in 3. I just don’t like dresses.” – letter from 9-year-old Izzy to school principal, UK The littlest of people are driving big changes in school uniform policy.  In

Read More