Girls across the country are facing a ban on skirts as schools change to gender-neutral uniform policies, a study has found.
An analysis of uniform policies at schools across England found that at least 40 secondaries had stopped girls wearing skirts and more are considering a ban.
The Sunday Times reports that the change to trousers for all pupils comes as schools opt for gender-neutral uniforms that cater to transgender students.
Priory School in Lewes, East Sussex, banned skirts for girls at the start of the last school year in September saying that pupils had questioned why the uniform was different for boys and girls.
As well as saying that the needs of transgender pupils need to be taken into account.
One of the schools considering a ban on skirts is Crawshaw Academy, near Leeds, which is ‘consulting on implementing a gender-neutral uniform (trousers only)’, according to the Sunday Times.
At Copleston High School in Ipswich, skirts have been added to the list of unacceptable items together with skinny jeans and facial piercings, while Woodhey High School, in Bury, has deemed skirts to be ‘undignified and embarrassing’ if girls sat on the floor.
In Bradford numerous schools with a high proportion of Muslim pupils have banned skirts on modesty grounds, and in Ipswich the majority of girls attend trouser-only schools.
Speaking to The Sunday Times, Naomi Wolf, the American writer, said: ‘I think that trousers-only for everyone is a silly way to go — unless you are going to also offer the option of skirts-only for everyone. I believe that if everyone is offered the option of both skirts and trousers, everyone can find his, her or their comfortable fit.’
Pupils at Philips High School, in Bury, are fighting the schools decision to introduce a trouser-only gender neutral uniform policy and have launched a petition to stop it, which has gathered hundreds of signatures.
The female students arguing wearing skirts makes them feel more confident and the change in policy could ‘damage our mental health’.