The Need for Gender Neutral Uniforms

Since the advent of the 21st century, there has been increased scrutiny over the concept of gender and the way it is presented has changed by leaps. The LGBTQIA+ community is becoming more mainstream, females now work physically demanding jobs which were previously associated only with men. Meanwhile men are also not afraid to work in jobs that were previously considered too “feminine”. We can observe more and more people experimenting with social norms and boundaries in various ways. Clothing is one way people are experimenting with identity. This is where uniforms come in.

Pupils at Valayanchirangara Primary School, Kerala wearing their gender-neutral uniforms

Photographed by: RK Sreejith

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Last year in 2021, a few elementary schools in Kerala brought in gender neutral uniforms after numerous girls opted out for sports citing the inconvenience caused by the traditional pinafores and salwar kameez they are asked to wear. This is a great leap forward in regards to gender equality enabling equalling opportunities being provided to all children regardless of their gender.

Taking this movement forward, the students of Aditya Birla World School, Mumbai, can choose to wear either pants, skirts or skorts regardless of the gender assigned at their birth. This is a huge step forward taken in regards to gender inclusivity at school level where a lot of teenagers are at the phase of questioning everything including their sexual identity.

Gender Neutral Uniforms Collection by Taiwanese designer, Angus Chiang

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Uniforms are something that students start wearing at a very young age and continue wearing till they’re teenagers. School taking up 3/4th of their childhood and they being in a phase of understanding, growing and identifying, gender neutral uniforms makes the process not just easier but supportive for the children.

The very concept of uniforms was established to promote equality amongst students regardless of their socio-economic status. Bringing in gender neutral uniforms is only right considering gender equality is as important as socio-economic equality in this fast changing and increasingly radical world.

While this is just a small step in regards to bringing in equality and inclusivity, it is nonetheless a great one forward in relation to making this world a better, equal place for all people.

Authored By: Suha

Edited By: Pranamika Phukan