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Uniformity in uniforms

Gender equality is the most discussed and deliberated topics of recent times. The humankind has realised the importance of treating all sexes equally, in words, deeds, attire or action. As a result of all the discussions happening around the world, there are outcomes happening in favour of women and their equal status in society.

The big question is where should be the beginning of action for gender equality. Without much thought, all would agree that it’s the schools that should initiate gender indiscrimination foremost in society. Schools are where children learn and develop their character and behaviour. It will be greatly appreciated if schools are ready to go gender neutral or at least not to discriminate and curb the freedom of girls.

My school had craft work for an hour a week. Girls were taught stitching, while boys were taught to make handcrafted toys. Lesson learned: stitching was not what males are supposed to do. Girls were supposed to wear skirts as uniform, while boys wear shorts even during sports day. Girls were reluctant to participate in sports for the fear of skirts flying high in the wind. Lesson learned: girls should limit their freedom of movement. This scenario which is 25 years old has changed a lot, but unfortunately traces are left even now.

Here is where a Government school in Kerala needs to be applauded for walking ahead of time, introducing gender neutral uniform in 2019. It was a successful change implemented and girls loved the freedom they got with their new uniform. All the parents welcomed wholeheartedly this initiative. We are in the 21st century and still discriminate children on what they wear. There is no uniformity for the "uniform" that a majority of students wear to schools. Some schools are even now sticking on to skirts for girls and trousers for boys. Aren’t such schools teaching inequality to students? Even the sports uniform for girls are skirts, while their male counterparts enjoy the freedom of trousers in class and on ground.

When this concern was raised to the principal of a leading school in Chennai, I got a smacking reply and she labelled me as "archaic" and "patriarchal". This century, women are trying to be equal with men in every arena from space to ocean. The professions that require uniforms, for instance, military and police, do not have different uniforms for men and women. They wear the same outfit. If this is what the children are going to experience in future, why do the schools discriminate now? Isn’t it time to think and ponder on this small step towards gender equality and bring about a change for good?

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2022 5:27:23 PM |

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