TAIPEI (CNA) — Starting from the new school semester in September, male students in New Taipei’s Banqiao Senior High School (板橋高中) will be allowed to wear skirts to school, in a move to promote gender equality, the school authorities said on July 22.
Lin San-wei (林三維), the high school’s student affairs division head, said the school authorities decided last month to scrap a regulation regarding students’ dress code, which originally stipulated that male students can only wear pants to school.
Scrapping the rule means that male students will be allowed to wear skirts to school should they choose to, without facing punishment, he noted.
Female students can continue to wear either skirts or pants to school.
Lin said the decision was made “not to encourage male students to wear skirts” but to create a gender-equal campus and to show more respect to students’ choices.
Both the Banqiao Senior High School and the Ministry of Education (MOE) said the high school could be the first in Taiwan to allow male students to wear skirts on campus.
Other amendments include that female students are now free to choose the color of the skirts or pants they wear, as long as they are self-colored.
The original rule stipulates that only blue or black shirts and pants are allowed.
The high school’s decision came two months after it held a week-long student-initiated “men wearing skirt” event this May during the 73rd anniversary of the school’s founding with the aim to break gender stereotypes and underline the personal freedom of choice.
The student-led initiative in May was supported by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
Asked to comment, Cheng Nai-wen (鄭乃文), director of the MOE’s Department of Student Affairs and Special Education, said the ministry welcomes the high school’s decision to break gender stereotypes.
According to the relevant regulations, school authorities are allowed to make changes in dress code and hair policies as long as they have consulted students and parent representatives and adhered to democratic procedures.
By Wang Hong-kuo, Hsu Chih-wei and Joseph Yeh