Guest post: Why won’t some schools allow trousers for all?

We recently covered a media story about parents battling schools to have trousers made a uniform option for girls (yes, we are in 2015) and in the guest post Pamela Pattman expands on the theme and share her own experiences.

Pamela Pattman & Heather

Pamela Pattman & Heather

I have been battling with my children’s school for almost two years, so that my daughter and others would have the option of wearing trousers as part of school uniform.

Sigh. I cannot believe that it is 2015, and I am writing that sentence.

What happened to equality? What happened to teaching our children to not be limited by stereotype or tradition, that the world is their oyster? It angers and depresses me in equal measures. Today, I would like to introduce Trousersforall, a pressure group set up to bring awareness to this ridiculous situation and hopefully eradicate such outdated policies from our schools.

We believe that our children, both male and female, have a right to play freely without showing their underwear. We believe that they should be able to dress in a manner that makes them feel warm, secure, comfortable and safe. We believe that our children are equal across the sexes, and that the rights afforded to one should be afforded to all. We believe that gender stereotyping at such a formative age is damaging, and can lead to misguided outdated thoughts and beliefs that will be carried forward by these pupils.

I am trying to raise my daughter to understand that she will succeed in life by working hard, having a good moral code, and by always striving to do her best. Her school, on the other hand, are reinforcing the message commonly touted by society in general: that she should look cute. That she needs to ‘look like a girl’. What and who are we trying to raise here? A generation that thinks the female is ornamental, and not if equal substance to her male counterpart? It is a dangerous thought to plant in young minds.

I have heard many people try and argue in favour of the school not allowing trousers for all. This is normally on the grounds of tradition, but there is a huge fundamental difference between tradition, and traditional values. Traditionally girls were educated separately to boys, they studied different subjects and were excluded from certain sports and activities. Traditionally boys wore short trousers all year round, but that was long ago seen as impractical. We can keep traditional values, such as family, respect, and community, but still practice equality. Tradition is not a label to hide behind.

I have also been asked ‘would you let the boys wear skirts then?’. This is a false equivalence. Boys don’t routinely go home from school and change into a skirt. They don’t watch their male teachers wear skirts to school. They don’t wave their dads off to work in a skirt. It is not the same thing. It is a weak argument from people trying to hide their prejudice.

It is time for someone to make our schools accountable for this blatant gender discrimination. If it was a place of work it would be illegal. Are females only equal to males over the age of 18? I ask for your support on this matter. Join us on Facebook at Trousersforall.  Let’s make a stand, and change the world for our girls, one trouser leg at a time!


Do you believe there are any valid arguments for schools not allowing girls to wear trousers?

Do you have any questions for Pamela on the Trousersforall campaign?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


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  1. MikesuziNZ

    SchoolsImprove Because England schools are living in the dark ages. Who ever heard of girl wearing a tie in real life.

  2. DadAndTwo

    SchoolsImprove A really well argued blog & finally a rational answer to the straw man argument of “boys must be able to wear skirts too.”

  3. L A S

    Good luck. Have you contacted the new Women’s Equality Party on this? I bet they would be interested too.

  4. teach_well

    SchoolsImprove It seems like a fair thing to do. If boys want to wear skirts I would let them!! Sky isn’t going to fall in folks….

  5. BehaviourA

    SchoolsImprove What about a legal challenge? Discriminating on grounds of gender, being treated less favourably etc

  6. Sylvia_Davies

    SchoolsImprove Don’t know reason for insisting on skirt? Or shorts for PE (boys& girls). Why aren’t kids allowed to cover up more?

  7. JudithBosavern

    SchoolsImprove Pamela so right – this in 2015? And why waste energy in making and enforcing silly rules?

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