New Zealand school abolishes gendered uniforms

Indo Asian News Service

Wellington, March 21 (IANS) A New Zealand primary school has abolished gendered uniforms for its pupils and replaced them with shorts, a kilt and trousers that can be worn by either sex, a media report said on Tuesday.

The move came after female students from the Dunedin North Intermediate school, South Island, in 2015 complained about having to wear only a skirt, the Guardian said in the reported.

Dunedin North Intermediate has more than 200 pupils aged between 10 and 13 years.

The school agreed that the girls could wear trousers, and a small number of girls started wearing the boys' uniform in 2016.

However, this option added further complications, with the girls who chose to wear trousers being teased for dressing like boys.

"The first changes seemed like a bit of a punishment actually," Heidi Hayward, principal of Dunedin North Intermediate school, said on Tuesday.

"We said you don't have to wear the skirt, but you have to wear the traditional boys' uniform, that looks very much like a boys' uniform, and be subject to these constant questions and jokes about whether you're a boy or a girl," the Guardian quoted Hayward as saying.

The uniform has now been extended to include five options, able to be worn by either male or female students -- shorts, long shorts, a kilt, trousers or culottes.

The move comes after scores of schools in Britain introduced 'gender neutral' uniform policies in 2016.

--IANS

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