Mum launches an online campaign calling for gender equality in school uniforms, after her young daughter was told she could not wear trousers.

Simone Cariss said it was unacceptable that there was not a pants option for girls at her daughter’s Melbourne Catholic school.

She launched an online petition has already collected more than 3,300 signatures.

UPDATE 1:30pm

Mum Simone Cariss told Kidspot: “The Principal called me today and said she hadn’t responded very well in the first place and that they would form a committee to discuss the changes and then roll them out.”

“I haven’t told Asha yet because she’s at school but she’s going to be rapt,” she continued.

Ms Cariss said her daughter Asha, who is in Year 1, loved the school but found the rule challenging.

“She feels at a disadvantage because she’s wearing a heavy, cumbersome kilt with uncomfortable tights, and if she chooses not to wear tights, she has to wear socks and then she’s cold. So it really is an impractical uniform,” Ms Cariss told 774 ABC Melbourne.

“My daughter is really active; she likes to join in with the boys and the girls at lunchtime playing sports and running around.

“She doesn’t choose to wear a dress at any other time, so she wants to have the choice.”

Ms Cariss said she had been told by the school, who she has chosen not to name, that there was no plan to change the uniform policy.

“I feel there is anti-discrimination legislation out there, and a workplace wouldn’t get away with this,” she said.

“I don’t know how schools are still able to do this and enforce this in 2016.

“What I don’t understand is that it [pants] is an approved school uniform, it’s just not available to half the students. And I don’t think that’s very fair.”

In her petition Ms Cariss writes: “My daughter’s primary school in Melbourne has declined a request for my daughter to wear pants as part of the winter uniform. Pants are approved school uniform for the boys only. Girls must wear a tunic in winter and a dress in summer (apart from sports uniform days).

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 travelling to/from school. She constantly asks “why can’t I wear pants like the boys?” “Because you’re a girl” is not something I am prepared to say to my 6 year old daughter. A daughter who I have raised 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.

The Australian Government recently launched a new campaign prompted by alarming research showing girls are only half as active as their male peers by the time they become teenagers. This campaign called “Girls Make Your Move” is a fantastic initiative. However it flies in the face of our young girls who are forced to wear heavy, long tunics and uncomfortable tights in winter and dresses that risk bearing their underwear in summer should they want to be active like their male peers.”

Do you agree?

Sign the petition HERE.

Share your comments below.

Image via change.org

  • Schools should allow slacks for girls as well. We do need to stay warm throughout the year.


  • I hate that my daughter can’t get warm enough in winter, wow they can wear tights under their skirts, lucky them, we get down to -3oC here. I believe if they expect the students to wear a uniform the teachers should also wear a uniform in the same style as the students. Dresses and skirts for the ladies and shorts or trousers for the men, see how quickly they change their uniform policies


  • Interesting that Americans have such issues surrounding nudity and sexuality yet they sexualise the hell out of everything – even children occasionally. It’s a truly schizophrenic society if you ask me. This poor mother did nothing wrong.


  • Some schools have knee high socks in Winter and short ones in Summer.
    They have a Winter Pinafore Dress, it is a warmer material but it feels only a tiny bit heavier. In Summer they have a dress but a lot of them have the hems below their knees, not short.


  • i agree to girls having the choice! Good for her!


  • Good on the mum,girl’s should be able to wear pants!


  • My youngest attended a Catholic pre-school in Brisbane in the early 90’s. The uniform was a netball skirt for the girls and shorts for the boys. As Mothers of active girls we wanted our daughters to be able to wear shorts so they could hang upside down or climb the equipment if they wanted to just like the boys. We were told that they would be allowed to wear the shorts but had to arrive and leave the school in the correct uniform…the netball skirt….what a waste of money. Thank goodness this school has seen sense, after all this is Australia, we do not live in a society that insists our girls are covered.


  • Oh well, Catholic schools. Hotbeds of sexism and old fashioned behaviour.


  • Girls should definetly be allowed to wear pants. As long as it’s part of school uniform then gender should not be associated with pants because both women and men them


  • Good on you Mum. I have signed the petition


  • At my daughter’s primary school, girls were allowed to wear dresses or shorts/trousers and polos. I didn’t realise this wasn’t the case at other schools.


  • You go girl! You have a very valid point, I hope enough people sign your petition to have things changed. I’ve signed it. I remember having to freeze in our school uniform skirt in winter while the boys got around in long pants. So not fair


  • Unbelievable. I’ve just signed the petition. My daughter never wanted a dress. In primary school she used trousers or the culotte. In high school she still prefers trousers that are indeed a lot more comfortable than dresses. Girls should be able to choose what they want to wear.
    Tights are indeed so annoying!


  • Our school (state school) must be “ahead of the times ” as girls wear shorts in sommer and trackies in winter. They only wear a dress or skirt if they choose.
    I remember many times as a child in a private school hating wearing a dress and wanting to wear comfortable clothes for aport etc.


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