In an effort to build equity and inclusion among their population, Mexico City has announced that all public schools will eliminated gender-specific uniforms for students. Mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, announced this week that guidelines on gendered uniforms will change effective immediately. BBC reports that skirt uniforms will no longer be specific to girls and girls will also be allowed to wear trousers.
We are announcing something very simple but for us very transcendent. I think the times have passed in which girls have to wear a skirt and boys have to wear pants. Boys can wear skirts if they want and girls can wear trousers if they want.
Sheinbaum also tweeted:
A city of rights brings equality to all spheres. Along the Secretary of Public Education, Esteban Moctezuma, we announce the neutral school uniforms in the city. The skirt will not be exclusive for girls and the trousers will be for all children. These are simple actions to promote equal rights.
Una ciudad de derechos lleva la igualdad a todas las esferas. Con el secretario de la @SEP_mx @emoctezumab anunciamos el uniforme escolar neutro en la Cd. La falda no será exclusiva para las niñas y el pantalón para los niños. Acciones sencillas para promover igualdad de derechos pic.twitter.com/SlohIh5T5P
— Claudia Sheinbaum (@Claudiashein) June 3, 2019
Itzel Rangel, a teacher at a private high school in Mexico City, tells Instinct that only public schools will eliminate gender-specific uniforms. The decision to adopt the new proposal for private schools will land on the administration.
This has caused much controversy. Many have said that this decision has nothing to do with gender equity. I think this is wonderful! I am glad that girls will no longer be forced to wear skirts to school because some of them have expressed discomfort and are simply not fond of skirts. The girls at our school are thrilled, since it is uncomfortable to sometimes go up the stairs or do certain activities in school. I do not doubt that there are boys who would like to wear a skirt, but it seems less likely since they would probably be teased. The boys just seem to laugh at all the memes going around about the situation. It’s still a chauvinistic society we live and work in. Many of my colleagues who are women are happy, while male teachers take it more as a ‘joke’. They do not see boys actually wearing skirts. While it is great to transmit equity, we still need more and better education on tolerance and respect.
But this announcement has not been well received as you may imagine as Mexico is known for its conservative, Catholic ideologies. Reuters reports that Leonardo Garcia, president of the National Union of Parents, expressed his sincere regrets for the new proposal.
Now it’s a neutral uniform. What happens tomorrow? Neutral toilets? The day after that, boys disguised as girls in the girls’ toilets? I think it’s a very serious mistake.
The new proposal, which was announced while Sheinbaum visited a public school, is merely a guideline and students are not obligated to dress any specific way.
Today, La Razon reported Moctezuma’s clarification that the new proposal was geared ONLY toward girls. So this is to say that boys will not be allowed to wear skirts since it was a proposal to build gender equity for girls. This does not address gender-fluidity or allow for boys to express themselves in whichever way possible by exploring dress creatively.
The controversy is really forgetting what is really important. At no time do we point out, neither my person nor the document, anything directed at children. What we point out are the girls, nothing aimed at children. I would like to see all of you who have skirts and who have trousers and I see that zero have skirts and eight have trousers , so the proposal is aimed at girls. What gives me a bit of sadness is that because of a false controversy, because it was taken in a way that was not the purpose of it, the girls were erased, and nobody talked about the girls and in Mexico we have a very strong problem of femicide, we have a very strong problem of femicide–there is a very serious problem in the issue of security for girls.