My children started at your school this year so I have recently purchased a full boy’s and girl’s school uniform. When I bought the uniforms I realised that the general availability and prices of the uniform make it easier for families with boys rather than girls.
I find this disappointing, not only because this is our local state school and uniforms are supposed to be a way of reducing differences rather than exacerbating them, but also because of the messages it sends to the students.
In some schools, girls are being asked to lengthen their skirts. Watch Mia Freedman, Kate de Brito and Monique Bowley weigh in. Post continues after video…
You may not be aware that there are many areas in which women are at a financial disadvantage from men. A French feminist group has called these financial disadvantages ‘the Woman Tax’, and a few examples of the way this affects the lives of Australians are as follows:
- Women working full time earn 84c in the male dollar;
- The pay divide between women and men increases when you factor in that more women than men work part time;
- Products aimed at women often cost more per item than comparable products designed for a male consumer.
I was therefore, particularly saddened to discover that the woman tax begins at school age with uniforms. Two key ways this manifests itself are pricing and availability.
I have made a list of all the basic items required for a summer, winter, and sports uniform. Once you cancel out anything that can be worn by both boys and girls, and discard any optional items, there is a $45 difference between the cheapest possible boy’s and girl’s uniforms. I also noticed that girls need to own three kinds of socks during the course of the school year: summer, winter, and sports – whereas boys only need school socks and sports socks as they are able to wear their grey ankle socks all year round.
As the list of uniform items only includes one of each kind, the financial differences between the uniform for boys and girls will be multiplied by the number of uniforms required by the family. The $45 difference ($61 if you buy the optional parts of the uniform) between one set of essentials for boys and girls would be $90 difference if two full uniforms are bought. A family with three daughters would have to pay $135 more than a family with three sons for only one set of the school uniform for each child.