Gender-neutral uniform in Valayanchirangara school heats up discussions again

Sarin S Rajan

Kochi: Even before discussions on gender neutral uniforms started here, a school in Kerala had already taken the road not travelled. Valayanchirangara LP School in Ernakulam district had initiated the gender neutral uniforms due to the timely intervention of parents and school PTA. They decided that both boys and girls should wear shirts and trousers in order to ensure their free movement.

Earlier, the school had ordinary skirts and top uniforms for girls till 2019. However, when several girls refused to take part in sports and physical activities fearing if their skirt would be blown by the wind, the school authorities and parents reconsidered the uniform. Many of the students also opined that the gender neutral uniforms are more comfortable for them.

“On sports day held in 2019, many girl students were unable to take part in the events and the teachers noticed it. Though some of them participated in the first round, they refused to enter the ground for the second round. When we inquired about this, they opened up that they feel uncomfortable with the uniforms,” said school principal-in-charge Suma KP. She also claimed that it is for the first time that gender neutral uniforms are introduced in a government school in the state.

valayanchirangara lp school
Students of Valayanchirangara LP School wearing gender-neutral uniforms | Photo: Mathrubhumi

“All parents and students supported the decision to switch the uniform from frock and skirt to three-fourth pants. First the change was introduced in pre-primary and then it was implemented in all classes from 1 to 4. The children were happy as they don't need to bother about the uniform anymore,” former principal C Raji said.

Initially, the cost of uniform was an issue as the uniform cloth provided for free was not sufficient to stitch the three-fourth pants. However, the parents agreed to manage the expense and the revolutionary change was implemented. Many other schools have approached Valayanchirangara LP School inquiring about the uniform. Academic committee chairman Dr Binoy Peter and PTA president K Ashokan also were part of the team that decided about the neutral uniforms.

MP Shashi Tharoor also opined that the girl students should have the freedom to choose the uniform according to their comfort and bound by the school rules. The girls should have multiple choices like skirt, half saree, churidar and trousers and be allowed to wear what makes them feel confident. Also they should not be forced to wear pants, he said.

Minister for higher education R Bindu said that the system of different uniforms for different genders should end. We have to follow a uniform pattern that suits our climate. Many engineering institutes have already implemented gender-neutral uniforms. This will help develop a feeling that all are one and the same and it gradually leads to gender equality too, she opined.

Minister for education V Sivankutty also supported the campaign and appreciated Valayanchirangara school through a Facebook post. He added that the textbooks will be audited in order to ensure gender equality and justice in the content which may result in revolutionary changes in the long run. initiated the campaign for gender-neutral uniforms highlighting the fact that schools should allow girl students to wear uniforms that do not limit their free movement and affect their confidence.

Add Comment
Related Topics

Get daily updates from

Disclaimer: Kindly avoid objectionable, derogatory, unlawful and lewd comments, while responding to reports. Such comments are punishable under cyber laws. Please keep away from personal attacks. The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of readers and not that of Mathrubhumi.