Does your school offer uniform options?
With state governments increasingly adopting uniform policies that offer shorts and pants to female students, policies in many non-government schools – as dictated by employing authorities – continue to miss the mark.
Queensland recently joined Western Australia, Victoria and South Australia in establishing a policy for state schools which requires all to provide appropriate shorts and trouser options for girls.
Unfortunately, no such general expectation exists for non-government schools in any state or territory in Australia.
PHOTO: IEUA-QNT council members and officers show their support for the GUA
Members take action
IEUA-QNT member and convenor of our union’s Equity Committee Louise Lenzo is a strong advocate of the Girls’ Uniform Agenda (GUA), which is contributing to the effort to achieve equity in uniform options across all Australia schools.
GUA, formed in 2017, is an organisation committed to supporting parents and girls who seek to have uniform policy changes implemented in their schools. Their efforts are behind the state-policy changes that have occurred in the last 18 months.
Ms Lenzo said as an early childhood educator for the past 25 years, she had witnessed, on a daily basis, the struggles girls faced due to the restrictions of strict uniform policies where the only option for girls was to wear a dress.
“I believe it’s time to progress from these out-dated policies and ideas and allow students the independence to choose a gender neutral option where play is unrestricted and freedom of movement is a priority – especially in the early years.
“School is a place where children learn, or should learn, about gender equality. Therefore it is the last place where there should be a gendered divide when it comes to clothing.
“If we instil values in our female students that they are equal to male students – what sort of message are we sending if they are not equal in the basics of their clothing?”
Ms Lenzo said our union acting as a collective voice of teachers and school support staff can further help bring this to the attention of school boards across Australia.
“We need to ensure we continue to raise awareness of the impact of the GUA and the positive impacts this has for all students – boys included,” Ms Lenzo said.
Our union has resolved to support the GUA, and will stand in solidarity with members who see the need to call for such change at their schools.
To learn more about GUA and to access resources click here.