W. Australia schoolgirls allowed to wear pants and shorts

SYDNEY • Girls at public schools across the state of Western Australia will be able to wear pants and shorts, no longer restricted to dresses or skirts.

The Education Department, in response to a complaint from an 11-year-old pupil, announced earlier this month that it would amend a statewide dress code to offer girls more uniform options.

Students and parents have long voiced complaints about the old policy, but the push- back has gained renewed momentum.

Mrs Krystina Myhre and her daughter Sofia wrote to the state's education minister, Ms Sue Ellery, calling for a change.

"My daughter and her friends have been quite unhappy about it for some time," said Mrs Myhre from Perth, who is also a representative of Girls' Uniform Agenda, a group that campaigns for girls to have the option of wearing shorts and pants.

The old rule restricted their movement, she said, making them worry about their body and space.

The previous dress code made it hard to take part in athletic activities, Sofia said.

I think it's really unfair that my brothers have been allowed to wear shorts, and all through primary school I haven't been allowed to except when I have sport.

SOFIA, 11, who wrote in with her mum, Mrs Krystina Myhre, to the state's education minister, Ms Sue Ellery, calling for a change in the dress code.

"I think it's really unfair that my brothers have been allowed to wear shorts, and all through primary school I haven't been allowed to except when I have sport.

"I really love kicking the footy, netball and doing handstands at recess and lunch. It is annoying doing these things in a skirt."

Ms Ellery said that after meeting the Myhres, she asked her department to ensure the policy was non-discriminatory.

The change does not apply to private schools, but a number of them said they planned to follow suit.

"We are introducing trousers for girls next year, but it's very much an option," said Mr Robert Henderson, principal of John XXIII College, a Catholic private school in Perth.

"It's certainly not throwing out the traditional uniform."

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 18, 2017, with the headline 'W. Australia schoolgirls allowed to wear pants and shorts'. Print Edition | Subscribe