Girls ditch churidar & skirt for gender-neutral uniform in Kerala school

But the Muslim Coordination Committee in the state is protesting against unisex dressing.

Teachers had observed that girls were keeping away from sports and other activities because of their outfits.

Close on the heels of a lower primary school, a government higher secondary school in Balussery in Kerala’s Kozhikode district has adopted a gender-neutral uniform for students, despite protests against it.

The 200 Plus-One students at Government Girl’s Higher Secondary School will wear long shirts and trousers from Wednesday, just like the boys in their class.

State higher education minister R Bindu termed the move as a radical step forward, as she inaugurated the new uniform of the school. She also said those opposing the idea are acting against the interests of Kerala and its future generations. The Left-front state government is supporting the move as part of its gender justice initiatives.

“At a time when the world is heralding an age of gender justice and equality, Balussery Government Girls HSS has taken a radical step forward. Glad to have had the opportunity to officially inaugurate the school’s new gender-neutral uniform, which students have welcomed with open arms,” Bindu said, according to a PTI report.


On people opposing the change, she said: “Those who love children will never oppose such progressive changes. Those who love children will support them to get adapted to clothes that suit our climate and give children freedom of movement.”

Protests against unisex dressing are being led by the Muslim Coordination Committee which even staged a march on Wednesday and which alleges that girls are being asked to wear the dress of boys.

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According to media reports, the school authorities say the gender-neutral uniform was introduced after discussions with parents and students.

But the Muslim Coordination Committee begs to differ.

“There are 200 girl students and 60 boys in the batch. The authorities have asked the girl students to wear the same dress as that of the boys. We feel that it is a wrong decision. It was not taken after discussing the matter with the PTA or other stakeholders. There was no discussion prior to implementing this and it seems like this was part of imposing liberal ideology in the school,” a representative of the coordination committee was quoted as saying by PTI.

Earlier, the girls had to wear kurta and churidar or skirts, with many choosing to wear an overcoat as well.

Teachers also reportedly observed that girls were keeping away from sports and other activities because of their outfits.

The Valayanchirangara LP School had in 2018 created history by introducing gender-neutral uniforms for students.