Student's letter leads to uniform change for girls

Girls will be able to wear pants now too.
Girls will be able to wear pants now too.  Photo: Shutterstock

Girls attending public schools in Western Australia will soon be allowed to wear shorts and pants to school, thanks to a letter written by an 11-year-old girl.

Sofia Myhre loves school, and loves playing with her friends, but felt that having to wear a dress or skirt was holding her back from being free to play as she liked. So she decided to do something about it.

Sofia, from Wembley in Perth, wrote an impassioned letter to the West Australian Education Minister Sue Ellery.

The letter explained why Sofia thought the gender imbalance of uniforms was unfair. "I think it's really unfair that my brothers have been allowed to wear shorts and all through primary school I haven't been allowed to except when I have sport," she wrote.

"I really love kicking the footy, netball and doing handstands at recess and lunch. It is annoying doing these things in a skirt."

Sofia explained that her school had recently changed their policy to allow girls to wear shorts or long pants, and that she thinks that rule should apply to everyone.

"I want you to know that we feel more confident now. I think it should be a new rule for every school, so it's fair for everyone," she wrote.

Sue Ellery was moved by Sofia's letter, and agreed to meet with the girl and her mother Krystina Myhre to discuss Sofia's plea face-to-face.

Minister Ellery agreed with Sofia, asking the Education Department to overhaul Western Australia's student dress codes policy to make it "non-discriminatory", Perth Now reported, giving girls the option of wearing shorts or pants.

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"An 11-year-old girl should be able to wear shorts to school," Minister Ellery told Perth Now. "In 2017, girls should be able to wear clothes that don't restrict their ability to participate in physical activity at school."

Sofia's mum Krystina has been an advocate for gender-neutral uniforms in schools for some time, and is the WA representative for Girls Uniform Agenda, a group that campaigns for change in this area.

Krystina says her next mission is to ensure private schoolgirls are also given the option of shorts or pants.