Victoria’s public schools will be forced to allow their female students to wear shorts or pants instead of dresses and skirts, following changes from the state government.
At present, in Victoria, it is up to each school to decide on its uniform policy.
Education Minister told ABC News he would introduce rules requiring public schools to give options for female students by the start of next year.
“There’s been a campaign — many parents’ organisations, students contacting me, contacting the Government — and I just thought this was a common sense decision to make,” Mr Merlino told ABC Radio Melbourne.
“The vast majority of schools provide the option of wearing pants or shorts for female students, but some don’t.”
According to the federal Department of Health, girls believe the fear of being judged or ridiculed is a barrier to participating in physical activity.
The move comes after the Western Australian Government announced similar changes to its uniform policy earlier last week.
In New South Wales and Queensland schools can make their own choice.
Mr Merlino said his two daughters were among the many Victorian girls who wanted to be given the option.
“Nine days out of 10 they want to wear shorts and pants to school, and I think that should be an option to all girls at all government schools,” Mr Merlino said.