School uniforms have long been seen as gender specific, with girls wearing skirts, and boys wearing pants. Asha Cariss' school in Australia is no different. But after dodging the first grader's "why can't I wear pants like the boys?" question, Cariss' mom Simone decided to take a stand against these traditional, antiquated dress codes.
After Cariss' school declined Simone's initial request for her daughter to wear pants, she launched a Change.org petition entitled "Uniform Gender Equality In Schools needs to be legislated."
"My daughter, like many other girls, simply wants the choice to wear pants like half of her peers, with the warmth and freedom to be active at school and traveling to/from school," she wrote on the petition that has since garnered over 9,300 signatures.
Simone explains that girls are restricted by "heavy, long tunics and uncomfortable tights."
She has since updated the petition explaining that a school uniform review committee was being established at the school and her daughter was allowed to start wearing pants. However, she believes there needs to be legislation put into action across the board as neutral options for "impressionable young people" can help "diminish gender stereotypes".
"I have raised [my daughter] to believe she can do and conquer anything, regardless of her gender, and that she can like what she wants to like and not what gender stereotypes dictate she should like," Simone wrote.
However, this isn't an issue isolated to just Australia. Within the past few years, students in the United States have questioned unfair and sexist dress codes with several girls taking to social media to discuss being sent home for their "inappropriate" outfits.
Some schools have taken steps to remedy these situations. In February, an Australian school allowed its students to "cross gender" its uniforms. Similarly, in January, a top private school in England announced that there would be no mandatory gender distinctions in uniforms.
Uniform decisions are often dealt with at an individual school level. But, it's 2016. And schools with sexist uniform policies should catch up to the gender-free, inclusive movement that has picked up steam throughout society — including within the fashion and beauty industries. Pants are just fabric and can be be worn by anyone regardless of gender.
h/t: The Age