It was once considered inappropriate for women to wear trousers in the workplace. Indeed, female flight attendants in BA’s Mixed Fleet were not granted permission to wear trousers until 2016 after a two-year legal battle.
I thought we had reached a point where people felt comfortable making their own decisions about what to wear, trousers or skirt. Not so. I almost choked on my cornflakes on Sunday morning when reading that over 40 secondary schools in the UK have banned skirts with more set to follow.
Skirts, it seems, are not gender-neutral.
If rules need to change to support today’s society, then arguably we should look to widen the remit and consider allowing everyone the option of wearing trousers or a skirt. It seems rather churlish to interpret the situation in such a way that insists everyone must just wear trousers. Choice is progress, not prescriptive nonsense.
Dare I even ask about shorts?
Of course, uniform is uniform, whether in school or the workplace, and one ought to be encouraged to adhere to guidelines – wearing a skirt when in combat or fighting a fire would be ridiculous. Dress codes should be reasonable, consider health and safety and not be discriminatory. Following a public outcry after PwC sent home a temp who refused to wear high heels, employers are have been asked to consider whether their dress codes “remain relevant and lawful”.
Back in education, it’s not the cut of fabric schools should be worried about, it’s the lack of common sense being shown by those writing the rules.
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