A Melbourne mother says her daughter did a “fist pump” when she was told she will now be allowed to wear pants to her Catholic primary school following a social media campaign to change its uniform policy.
Simone Cariss said the backflip by the school, the name of which she has chosen to withhold, was a direct result of the media interest gained by her petition calling for gender equality in school uniforms.
The school had previously not allowed her daughter Asha, in Grade 1, to wear pants.
“The principal called me [on Monday morning] and said they’d reconsidered their position and that Asha can wear pants if she likes, and they will set up a school uniform committee to work how we roll out pants being available for girls in the school,” Ms Cariss said.
“(Asha) had a bit of a fist pump in the air moment, and then put her arms around me and hugged me.
“And I basically said to her, you don’t ever have to wear that tunic again if you don’t want to.”
Ms Cariss had previously said the girl’s uniform, consisting of a “cumbersome” tunic and either tights or socks, was impractical for a young girl who wanted to run around and play sports at lunchtime.
Daughter ‘now feels equal’ with her fellow students
The petition, which was launched on Friday, sparked interest on social media and a number of news outlets about the issue of gendered uniform policies.
“As a positive, it’s generating a lot of conversation about the issue,” Ms Cariss said.
“I know the coverage isn’t all positive, but people are talking about it and I think it’s an issue that needs to be addressed across the board, for gender equality for our kids in school.
“I’m just fighting for equal opportunity in schools, we have it in our workplace for women and we had to fight really hard for that.
“I’m prepared to fight really hard for our young girls, our most impressionable girls, that they don’t have to be forced to wear dresses in this day and age. It’s 2016.”
Ms Cariss said some critics questioned why she did not remove her daughter from the school and send her to one with a more flexible stance.
“To the people who have said on social media and the radio, ‘why don’t you just leave? They’re the rules, you knew about them’, I’m not to know when I sign my daughter up she’s going to have an issue with wearing a dress,” she said.
“I did put it to her as an option, but she said ‘no mum, I love my school in every other way, I want to stay’ I have to respect her wishes.
“I’m just really pleased the school has come around, and my daughter is able to stay there and be much happier and not feel like she’s not equal to half of her peers.”
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
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