Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW

​Shorts not an option for girls at school

Conciliations: Sex discrimination in education

Published: 24 August 2017

A mother made a complaint of behalf of her daughter, who had to wear a dress or skirt to school and was not allowed to wear trousers or shorts.

The school responded that girls were allowed to wear shorts, but this was not part of the official school uniform. The official uniform would take time to amend as it would involve changing their contract with the company that produced the uniforms, which had been negotiated on the basis of the current set of items. 

The student said that although she may have been allowed to wear shorts she had been named at assembly and in class as not being in uniform which was humiliating and distressing.

At conciliation, it was agreed that girls attending the school should be able to wear trousers or shorts, but it took some time to establish the process for incorporating these into the uniform. 

The school representatives said they would immediately include trousers and shorts in the standard school uniform policy, and notify parents to this effect. They agreed that students could wear non-uniform, standard-coloured trousers or shorts while the school community was consulted about new additions to the uniform, and a new contract was negotiated with the supplier. 

A timeline was established for the process in which the new uniform items would be available for sale at the beginning of term four. These arrangements resolved the complaint.

What is discrimination?

Discrimination occurs when someone is treated unfairly because they belong to a particular group of people or have a particular characteristic.

In NSW many types of discrimination are against the law. The laws dealing with discrimination help give everyone an equal chance.​​

More information on discrimination

What does the law say about sex discrimination?

Sex discrimination is against the law in NSW. This includes when you are treated unfairly or harassed because of your sex - that is, because you're a woman or because you're a man


More information on Sex Discrimination​​​

Back to August 2017 - Equal Time Newsletter​​​​​​​

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