Girls Can Now Wear Shorts: Kerala School's Unique Initiative To Promote Gender Neutral Dress Code
In a first, a group of girls at Valayanchirangara Government Lower Primary School, in Kerala have now started wearing knee-length shorts and not skirts, after their school introduced a unisex uniform this academic year.
The 104-year-old school changed all norms and experimented by introducing gender-neutral uniforms for the pre-primary students last year. After the successful experiment, the school decided to continue the gender-neutral uniforms this academic year too.
To facilitate easy and convenient movement for girls, gender-neutral shorts and shirts have been introduced for all students, deviating from skirts or salwar kameez for girls.
“This is particularly convenient for girls who can play easily now,” Raji C, Headmistress of the school told The Hindu. “We were initially worried about the reaction from parents who might want their girls to continue wearing skirts. But most parents have welcomed the idea,” she added.
Many girls have been excited about this new initiative as they see their comfort as a priority for the school. When the decision was taken, some of the girls were thrilled to see pockets in their shorts.
This move comes as a relief for many girls who wish to play sports but are unable to manage with the bulky skirts.
According to the headmistress, the initiative has increased the number of students drastically. While the school’s total strength in 2015-16 was 609, it now stands at a total of 681 students.
“We have had 40 new admissions for Classes 2 to 4 this year alone though there are several private CBSE schools in the vicinity,” said the headmistress.
Valayanchirangara Government Lower Primary School has encouraged several new initiatives for the benefit of its students. Apart from the gender-neutral uniform, the school also introduced a group health insurance policy for the students of the school run by an all-women team of teachers. However, the school still lacks infrastructural support. The school has no staff room for its teachers, and they are compelled to work in a stage outdoors as a makeshift classroom.