Dublin school starts campaign for girls to have trouser uniform option

The #whowearsthetrousers campaign was started at Maryfield College in Drumcondra
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

14.53 7 Mar 2022

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Dublin school starts campaign...

Dublin school starts campaign for girls to have trouser uniform option

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

14.53 7 Mar 2022

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An all-girls Dublin secondary school is calling for pupils to have the option of wearing trousers.

The #whowearsthetrousers campaign was started at Maryfield College in Drumcondra, with hopes of national changes.

Margaret McLaughlin teaches at Maryfield College, and told Lunchtime Live this is something the students want.


"One thing that the students felt very strongly about was the right to wear trousers for girls.

"How this came up was in general discussion on equality, and then it turned out our school had already put in place... the process going to have trousers.

"And the girls were very intrigued by the process, and the inequality of it, that some schools have them and some don't.

"So they began to think about how can we get a campaign to make sure that every girl has trousers as part of their uniform".

She says the reasons for this include "diversity, inclusivity, warmth, comfort".

She says alternatives to a skirt just make sense.

"During the COVID times, because of the cold, they were all told to wear tracksuits if they wished because it would be warmer.

"But there were schools that insisted still on the socks and the skirt in the coldest of times.

"I suppose that added to the strong feeling that, really, it's very outdated that girls are now still going into school in a skirt and socks.

"It doesn't seem like appropriate wear".

And Ms McLaughlin says this could easily be changed.

"We feel that equality legislation should cover school uniforms, and it's not that difficult to change - for Norma Foley to say 'Look, all schools should provide trousers for girls'.

"It reflects who we are as a society now, and I think it is possible but it would take a decision at high level".

'Sitting comfortably is hard'

Meabh is a student at Maryfield College.

She says: "There's loads of reasons why it's an issue; one of them is how wearing a skirt can at times be really uncomfortable.

"Just sitting comfortably is really hard - and things like running for the bus can be really difficult while wearing a skirt.

"Only six people in our whole school cycle to school regularly, and that's a big issue when it comes to the environment and trying to cut down on driving and stuff like that.

"So there's a lot of reasons why trousers would really benefit us... the main reason why people don't cycle is because it's really difficult to cycle in a skirt, I think".

'Everybody has the right to choose'

Another student, Anita, says she doesn't think there is much support to keep the rules as they are.

"I don't think anybody would want trousers not to be an option.

"Everybody does have the right to choose, because choice is really important today.

"And everyone should have the right to choose whether they want to wear trousers or skirts to school".

Jackson Lennon is a trans male, who went to an all-girls school in Dublin.

He says: "I came out when I was 15-years-old - I didn't start medically transitioning until I was about 18.

"I was very welcomed by my peers and everybody was very, very accepting.

"But when it came to me and my mom to going into the school to say 'Look, he's not comfortable coming into school, he identifies as male and he's still being told he has to wear this very old fashioned middle-aged skirt.

"It felt very degrading, it felt very hamulating going into school wearing that when I was saying 'This is how I feel but yet I still have to wear the skirt'.

"It was just a massive issue made of it".

Jackson says this should not be such a big debate.

"I was the first openly trans person in the school, and I was quickly followed by a few others.

"So if I didn't try and step up and fight to say 'We should be allowed wear trousers, we're still coming into school, we're still getting our education - nothing else is changing'.

"It's literally just covering our legs with a different piece of cloth".

Dublin school starts campaign for girls to have trouser uniform option

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Main image: Skirts and legs of Irish students on a tour of Prague Castle in the Czech Republic. Picture by: B. O'Kane / Alamy Stock Photo

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