Australian School Lets Pupils #Breakfree From Gender Stereotypes

Rosie Benson

Boys who identify as female can now wear skirts to school...

This week we’re all about #BreakingFree from Gender Stereotyping. That’s why we were thrilled to read about this school in Australia, re-writing the rulebook on school uniform.



Newtown High School in Sydney has published new rules stating that boys identifying as female can wear skirts to school, and also use the girls bathroom.

The move comes after a campaign led by year 11 pupils, who wanted to see a change in the school’s uniform policy.  

11 year old Jo Dwyer told The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘our aim was to remove the un-inclusive gender labels from the school uniform’. Previously, students wishing to wear the ‘cross-gender uniform’ had to have permission from their parents, plus a psychologist’s note, which ‘wasn't really a possibility for some students whose parents aren't supportive of their gender identity.’ 


Newtown High, a performing arts school, has been praised for its progressive uniform policy, which has attracted headlines around the world. LGBT advocacy group Safe Schools Coalition Australia is now encouraging all schools in New South Wales to consider adopting the policy.

This is not the only time that pupils at Newtown High School have challenged the status quo. In 2014 year nine pupils threw some tough questions at then Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, while he was visiting. Pupils challenged him over his stance on gay marriage, immigration, and asked him pointedly why the Minister for Women in his government was… a man.

Taking direct action, campaigning for equality and challenging gender stereotypes -  where do we sign the enrolment form?

Newton High School has joined the apparent movement of using clothing to tackle gender stereotyping. Stylist Jenny Beavan defied all pressure to appear at the Oscars in a ball gown, instead arriving in an M&S jumper with a striped scarf. ‘I don’t do frocks and I absolutely don’t do heels. I have a bad back.’ Jenny explained after her win. Whilst Jaden Smith captioned an Instagram shot of himself in a striped dress: ‘Went to Topshop to buy some girl clothes, I mean “clothes”’. And, in other long-overdue news, British Airways finally allowed female air stewards to wear trousers to work earlier this year. (It’s only taken them thirty-odd years).

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