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Challenging private schools girls uniforms

(42 Posts)
SAMlady Thu 12-Oct-17 17:05:31

Have been considering a local private school but cannot bring myself to apply for our DD as the uniform guidelines do not allow girls to wear trousers.

I know it's an archaic way for private schools to keep up the old boys club and keep women in their box and enforce differences but would gladly hear suggestions for smart ways to challenge the school pointing out their stupidity- but without being the annoying parent. I'm probably not the right sort of parent anyhow as I just can't condone silently supporting this division and messaging.

So far:
1) why have pastoral program and tell pupils they can achieve anything but not let girls do perfectly normal thing
2) they will prob say it's tradition but can a) use examples of other traditions that they've adapted such as use of technology and b) talk about my school which is top grammar, founded in 1565 and they adapted when I went to school in the last millennium ffs

MyDcAreMarvel Thu 12-Oct-17 17:08:41

"I know it's an archaic way for private schools to keep up the old boys club and keep women in their box and enforce differences "
What odd thinking , girls look smart in skirts . Many state schools have separate girls and boys uniforms.

grasspigeons Thu 12-Oct-17 17:12:36

Is there anything that the skirts/dresses are stopping the girls from doing or making them do which hinders their learning? That's the route I'd take as a skirt/dress is perfectly legitimate clothing and uniforms are generally a restricted range of clothes even for boys.

NoLoveofMine Thu 12-Oct-17 17:13:22

What odd thinking , girls look smart in skirts . Many state schools have separate girls and boys uniforms.

It's not "odd thinking" at all. Why on Earth should girls be forced to wear skirts? It's ridiculous and outdated. No schools should enforce it, state or private.

fionnbharr Thu 12-Oct-17 17:14:59

I think you may find that the more forward thinking private schools have already introduced a trousers for girls option in anticipation of possible legal challenges.
I would argue that school is a preparation for work. No work place insists on dresses/skirts for women as that would be discriminatory and potentially illegal. Schools should respond or risk being seen as backward. I would apply the same reasoning to ties for girls which I think are absurd.
Not sure if the same reasoning would require a skirts for boys option. I think I would argue that that is not the societal norm - outside Scotland- But I think they could reasonably make an argument for tailored, knee length shorts.

NoLoveofMine Thu 12-Oct-17 17:15:06

That's the route I'd take as a skirt/dress is perfectly legitimate clothing

No-one's saying they're not "legitimate clothing". I regularly wear skirts and dresses myself but to enforce this gendered dress code on girls is ridiculous, regressive and many girls dislike it as they'd feel far more comfortable in trousers. It enforces a difference between how girls and boys dress which is unnecessary.

NoLoveofMine Thu 12-Oct-17 17:18:51

No work place insists on dresses/skirts for women as that would be discriminatory and potentially illegal. Schools should respond or risk being seen as backward.

Quite.

Schools insisting on them for girls are enforcing this idea of gendered dress on girls and suggesting this is the "correct" way for girls to appear.

The girls' school I attend has a uniform from year 7 to year 11 which allows skirts or trousers. This is sensible.

Hillingdon Thu 12-Oct-17 17:21:03

I almost guarantee that girls in a private school will be confident and articulate. Skirts not withstanding. They wont be in any box!

elevenclips Thu 12-Oct-17 17:21:41

You will probably find this has been challenged in the past. I have a friend who challenged the headmistress of a private school on this exact issue and the headmistress stated that trousers had been trialled for girls two years before friend's dd joined school and apparently all girls elected to remain wearing skirts so the trousers never became part of the uniform. You sound quite judgemental yourself saying that it is done to keep women in their box.

NoLoveofMine Thu 12-Oct-17 17:22:09

In terms of challenging it I would bring up some of these points and ask why girls should be forced to wear skirts and not given the option of trousers, why the school is enforcing this difference between girls and boys. A school should be freeing its pupils from gender, not imposing it upon them.

NoLoveofMine Thu 12-Oct-17 17:25:04

I go to a private girls' school as I said and skirts and trousers are both permitted for the years where there's a uniform. Most do wear skirts (including myself when I was in those years) but some wear trousers and even those who never do would object strongly if skirts were enforced. The point in my opinion is there should be a choice and forcing girls to wear something which remains very gendered is regressive.

AssassinatedBeauty Thu 12-Oct-17 18:11:58

How short sighted to not keep trousers as an option for girls just because none in the trial period chose to wear them. It would have been very simple to leave them as an option, even if for a small minority. It's not like it's doing any harm to have them as an option.

As PP have pointed out, it wouldn't be acceptable in the workplace to insist on skirts/dresses for women so it shouldn't be acceptable in schools.

I don't know if it's worth feeding back to the school, that you feel it's an issue which would stop you from sending your daughter there. Private schools are businesses so I suppose they might respond to losing potential customers!

LassWiTheDelicateAir Thu 12-Oct-17 18:20:42

My son's school now allows girls to wear trousers. I don't think I have seen its girls wearing trousers.

You do actually sound very judgemental with your talk of old boys' club and keeping women in boxes. I could see your point if you meant generally that you object to elitism that private schools keep the old boys' and the old girls' clubs in place.

Given you think the school shows stupidity and props up old boys' clubs perhaps it is not the best choice for you.

NoLoveofMine Thu 12-Oct-17 18:25:38

How short sighted to not keep trousers as an option for girls just because none in the trial period chose to wear them. It would have been very simple to leave them as an option, even if for a small minority. It's not like it's doing any harm to have them as an option.

Exactly. It makes no sense to remove the option. I'm sure at first the take up is slow for a variety of reasons. Either way, it's ridiculous to force girls to wear skirts as part of a uniform.

I hope you challenge this SAMlady and you don't sound judgemental at all, I'm guessing it's a mixed school? I've heard of that kind of culture at some mixed private schools, ones which were boys but began to admit girls at some point. There's one such school near me which has the same attitude to uniform - forcing girls to wear skirts. No girls' schools I know of around my area and the area my school is in do, thankfully. Parents like you are vital in challenging these things!

Allthebestnamesareused Thu 12-Oct-17 18:29:03

My son's private co-ed allows the girls to wear the same trousers that are part of the "boys" uniform list if they want to. One girl does.

I wouldn't deselect the right school for my child based on the uniform alone if everything else made it the right fit for my child.

How does your DD feel about not wearing trousers or does she even care or does she even know that you care?

NoLoveofMine Thu 12-Oct-17 18:31:07

As I said, the majority of girls at my school choose to wear skirts in years with uniform (though interestingly far fewer do to school in my year or the year below with no uniform or dress code) but even most girls who choose to wear skirts would feel aggrieved if skirts were enforced and trousers not allowed.

Ktown Thu 12-Oct-17 18:31:37

I'd pick your battles.
Your child is there to learn. I agree it is archaic but there are other things to think about. Mine feeds them sugary snacks and I don't like it but I am more concerned about her reading.

Anasnake Thu 12-Oct-17 18:33:20

I work in a girl's school and we've always had trousers as an option as most of our Muslim pupils prefer to wear them.

Elendon Thu 12-Oct-17 18:33:37

What odd thinking , girls look smart in skirts .

Girls and young women look smart in trousers as well. I bet huge money, the school can't enforce this draconian dress code on the female staff.

Feministcheeseplate Thu 12-Oct-17 18:35:02

What odd thinking , girls look smart in skirts . Many state schools have separate girls and boys uniforms.

If it looked smart or they were useful at all they’d have boys in Them too.

Op, personally it’s a fight I’d take up if it were my local school but I’d assume their thinking didn’t tally with mine in lots of ways based on this and would never choose it

Feministcheeseplate Thu 12-Oct-17 18:35:54

I'd pick your battles.

Sexism not a worthy battle?

ErrolTheDragon Thu 12-Oct-17 18:36:02

You're a potential customer of this private school. If this issue is the deciding factor in whether you think its an appropriate place to send your DD, then you should tell them straight.

DDs girls' school had an option of trousers. Not many of the 'white british' girls wore them but they were popular with many from other cultural heritages. They also had a mid calf skirt option, though I don't remember seeing anyone wearing that. It was just an option for any who might prefer it.

Elendon Thu 12-Oct-17 18:38:37

Those girls and young women will have to wear those skirts at just the right length, not too short and not too long. Forever policed on their clothes whilst trying to get an education.

Elendon Thu 12-Oct-17 18:42:35

Both my daughters had an option and choice of trousers or skirt at their all girl's school to GCSE - the Sixth Form has a different dress code.

Mainly British and mainly white. I would say most wore the trousers in the cold weather.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Thu 12-Oct-17 18:55:22

Those girls and young women will have to wear those skirts at just the right length, not too short and not too long. Forever policed on their clothes whilst trying to get an education

Policing of appearance in private schools applies to boys too. The boys get pulled up about low slung trousers/ untucked shirts/ badly knotted ties.

We were told on occasions to get my son's hair cut; he had a desperately short hair cut after one summer holiday to get rid of dyed hair and he couldn't wear his earring.

If you don't like schools with uniform policies - fine don't send your children there.

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