Annabelle B’s story

My name is Annabelle. I live in Melbourne, Victoria and go to a private school. When I was in Year 8 in 2017 my friends and I started to climb the trees at school. We started to notice how we couldn’t enjoy being outside, because of our heavy skirts. The skirts/dresses made it really hard to move and run around at our break times. We decided to look into our school uniform and the options for girls.

We found that as girls we only had two formal options, a summer dress and a winter skirt. There were many girls and boys that were outraged by this so the 8 of us decided to create a group and work together to try and change the girls’ formal uniform. We wanted the option of formal pants and shorts for the female students at our school. We met with teachers and students on the student council to try and add to our uniform. It took many emails and meetings with teachers.

For a while after this initial flurry of activity we were pretty silent; with exams and testing we had to pause our campaign for a bit. But then last year, when I was in Year nine, formal pants and skorts were introduced into the uniform. These are sold at our uniform shop. We asked for formal shorts but many girls are happy with the skorts. Getting shorts added is something that I do want to bring up in the future.

Currently I am in Year 10 and we are proposing to get new sport shorts, as we have found that having unisex shorts doesn’t work. From various school surveys that we created, we found that girls didn’t feel comfortable in the current shorts and the material is very poor. We are continuing to advocate for a better uniform. In the future we want the option for formal shorts and better fitting formal pants for girls (seeing as the pants that are available are made for boys.)

I believe that this is really important to speak up about. As students we should have the right to wear the uniform that we feel comfortable in. By working to get formal shorts and pants added at school I have learnt to be more confident in what I believe in and to always stand up for what is right.