School uniforms to go gender-neutral across the UK through new ABC system

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Published Sep 5, 2023 at 01:35 PM

Reading time: 2 minutes

In order for us to find ourselves in a world that prioritises greater inclusivity and diversity, it is imperative that our educational institutions align with this progress. A noteworthy development that has occurred just before the start of the academic year, is the implementation of gender-neutral school uniforms across the UK. These uniform options are crafted to be overtly inclusive, catering to every student irrespective of their gender identity, expression, or how they present themselves.

In a number of schools across the country, the terms ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ have now been eliminated from school uniform policy documents and substituted with designations like ‘Uniform A’ and ‘Uniform B’. Additionally, certain schools have introduced a third alternative known as ‘Uniform C’.

Gender-neutral school uniforms, also known as unisex uniforms, are attire options that do not conform to traditional gender norms. Unlike traditional uniforms that often consist of skirts or dresses for girls and trousers for boys, these alternatives offer students a broader range of choices. Gender-neutral uniforms typically include items like pants, shorts, shirts, and jumpers that can be worn by all students, regardless of their gender.

The adoption of such uniforms aims to create an environment that is more inclusive and respectful of diverse gender identities. It recognises that not all students identify strictly as boys or girls and that their clothing choices should not be limited by societal expectations. Instead, these options encourage students to express themselves authentically, promoting a sense of self-identity and acceptance.

The growing popularity of gender-neutral school uniforms

As reported by Glamour, this shift reflects a broader societal understanding of gender as a spectrum, rather than a binary concept. Inclusive policies, advocacy from LGBTQIA+ organisations, and the openness of gender-non-conforming students to share their experiences have all contributed to this positive change.

Wearing a mandatory mini skirt to school can be incredibly difficult for some girls. In some cases, this dress code requirement can be seen as misogynistic because it enforces a specific and potentially uncomfortable attire solely based on one’s gender. Such policies can perpetuate harmful stereotypes that suggest girls should conform to ‘certain’ standards of appearance rather than prioritising their comfort, self-expression, and well-being. These restrictions can inadvertently reinforce harmful gender norms and undermine their sense of agency and equality.

Last year, Blofield Primary School in Norwich made amendments to its uniform policy, granting children aged four to 11 the freedom to select their clothing based on their “self-identified gender.” The school emphasised its commitment to preventing discrimination by opting not to categorise uniform items by gender, thus ensuring that all pupils have the opportunity to wear attire that aligns with their comfort and self-identified gender.

I mean, it’s worth recalling that women activists initiated their battle for the freedom to wear pants as early as the late 1880s. However, in most of Europe, the widespread acceptance of women wearing pants did not materialise until the late 1960s and 1970s, more than a century after the first efforts by women’s rights activists. It was finally during the women’s liberation movement of that era that significant strides were made in dismantling the societal stigma associated with women wearing trousers.

While the benefits of gender-neutral school uniforms are evident, it is essential to acknowledge that their adoption may face challenges and controversies. Some parents and community members may resist the change due to traditional beliefs or misconceptions about gender.

Lucy Marsh, representing the Family Education Trust, expressed the sentiment that it was long overdue for parents to unite and take a stand against the ABC policy. The Family Education Trust is a non-profit organisation dedicated to advocating for traditional family values and parental rights in education. Their core concern with the ABC policy likely revolves around the belief that it may be at odds with their values and principles surrounding the concept of traditional families and values.

To address these concerns, it is crucial for schools to engage in open and respectful dialogues with all stakeholders, explaining the rationale behind the shift towards gender-neutral uniforms.

The adoption of gender-neutral school uniforms represents a significant step towards creating more inclusive and accepting educational environments. These uniforms not only benefit gender-non-conforming children by providing them with a safe space to express themselves but also contribute to break down harmful gender stereotypes that only hinder children’s self-expression.

Keep On Reading

By Sam Wareing

Alaskan elementary school accidentally served floor sealant instead of milk to a dozen children

By Francesca Johnson

Amazon is funding classes that teach high school students how to work at Amazon

By Alma Fabiani

Connecticut high schools to become first to offer black and Latino studies in 2022

By Charlie Sawyer

5 celebrity breakups that emotionally wrecked us in 2023

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Exploring The Gambia’s attempt to reverse its ban on FGM and how the ritual cutting impacts women worldwide

By Charlie Sawyer

Kylie Minogue’s scent, stereotypes in the media, and fancying F1 drivers: My morning with GK Barry

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

From breast cancer survivors to greenwashing: Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS nipple bra heats up the internet

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

The Last of Us star Bella Ramsey reveals they want their next role to be the Joker

By Abby Amoakuh

New Brandy Melville HBO documentary paints CEO Silvio Marsan as super creepy

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Shia LaBeouf ditches acting career to become a Catholic deacon instead

By Charlie Sawyer

Poison seller who promoted death kits on suicide forums tracked down by BBC

By Abby Amoakuh

VICE obituary: How Gen Z will remember the millennial digital media titan

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

AI used to resurrect dead Indian politician M. Karunanidhi ahead of elections

By Charlie Sawyer

How to get a refund on your train ticket this Christmas

By Abby Amoakuh

Sydney Sweeney claps back at TikTok scammer who pretended to be her dietitian

By Abby Amoakuh

Former Brandy Melville employees recount horrifying experiences after trailer for HBO documentary airs

By Charlie Sawyer

Video of teenage girls using makeup to put on blackface in Sephora goes viral

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

$18K alpha male boot camp promises to turn weak men into modern-day knights

By Abby Amoakuh

Noah Schnapp faces renewed controversy after apology video and defence from Stranger Things co-star

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Plane forced to turn back after horse breaks lose on board