School gender benders

Schools are opting more and more for a unisex dress code to make it simpler for the boys and girls.

Some schools are bending gender norms. A growing number of city schools are breaking stereotypes by moving towards unisex uniforms where girls wear trousers or shorts similar to boys. The practice of girls being mandated to wear skirts or salwar kameez in schools is slowly dying.

For instance, Asan Memorial at Nungambakkam is among many schools where all students are required to wear trousers and shirts. The school also currently follows unisex dress codes for classes XI and XII alone. But the school says it will soon be enforcing a gender-neutral dress code for everybody.

“Many schools following Indian boards are still having shirts and trousers for boys and shirts with skirts or pinafore for girls. Some traditional schools have Salwar Kameez for girls. I personally feel that Salwar for the girl is the best option when it comes to uniforms other than shorts. On the negative side, it may seem like a disturbance to the cultural values”, says, Mirrunalini J, school teacher.

A few international schools are having common dresses for both - T-shirt with shorts. As trousers can make a girl expose a bit more, making it awkward to wear. On the positive side, it breaks the concept of uniforms, by not restricting the students to a particular dress code. Girls and boys wearing similar outfits signify equality.

Sharanyaa Naresh, Assistant Professor, says, “With dress, girls have practical difficulties when compared to boys. Instead of concentrating on dress, we have to more focus on education. Apart from syllabus, the students have to be taught about improving technology and how it will help them educationally. Value-added courses are also supposed to be concentrated on so that students will do better when they reach higher studies.”

Schools should concentrate more on education instead of focusing on dress is the general consensus.

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