There’s been a lot of talk recently about the need for gender-neutrality in schools. Unisex toilets have been introduced in at least one primary school in New Zealand and the US media have been awash in controversy once President Obama stated gender-neutral bathrooms were, in fact, federal law.
More locally, the outcry has been directed at school uniforms as many in the school community would like for girls to have the choice of wearing pants, should they want to, just as their male peers do. The cries are for equality and the role heavy tunics or potentially exposing skirts and school-dresses play in the decrease in girls’ physical activity at school, particularly once they hit puberty - all fair points. It’s brilliant to see more and more schools opening up their uniform policies, some so open as to allow the boys to wear dresses, should they wish. Within much of the education section, thanks in part to the Safe Schools campaign and assertive parents, the definition of gender and associated expectations are, in fact, being redefined.
However, I want to take it back. All the way back to the early years.