YOUNG girls attending public schools in Western Australia will be allowed to wear shorts and pants to school, all thanks to an impassioned note from an 11-year-old.
Sofia Myhre loves going to school. She loves being active and playing with her friends at recess and lunchtime - something that should be encouraged. But one thing was holding her back - a backwards uniform code that only allows girls to wear either a skirt or dress to school. So she decided to do something about it. The 11-year-old from Wembley, Perth wrote to the WA Education Minister Sue Ellery.
And now Sofia's powerful handwritten plea has changed everything for her female peers. It led to an overhaul of state's student dress codes policy to ensure it is "non-discriminatory", Perth Now reported. This means public schools across WA will be told they are no longer allowed to limit girls to wearing only dresses, skirts or "skorts".
Sofia Myhre hated having to wear a dress or a skirt to school.
In her letter, Sofia told the minister how her primary school recently changed their uniform policy, which previously only allowed girls to wear shorts when playing sport.
"I think it's really unfair that my brothers have been allowed to wear shorts and all through primary school I haven't been allowed to except when I have sport," the schoolgirl wrote in the letter obtained by Perth Now.
"The dresses are even worse but at least you don't have to wear them!
"I really love kicking the footy, netball and doing handstands at recess and lunch. It is annoying doing these things in a skirt."
"I want you to know that we feel more confident now. I think it should be a new rule for every school, so it's fair for everyone," she wrote.
Moved by the young girl's plea, Ms Ellery met with Sofia and her mum Krystina Myhre and has now asked the Education Department to amend the department's Dress Codes for Students Policy.
Individual school councils or boards will continue to set their own dress codes, but will be told that girls must have the option of shorts or pants.
"An 11-year-old girl should be able to wear shorts to school. In 2017, girls should be able to wear clothes that don't restrict their ability to participate in physical activity at school," Ms Ellery told Perth Now.
The change, however, does not affect private schools, which often require girls to wear dresses.
Sofia's mother has long been a vocal advocate for gender-neutral uniforms in primary schools. She is the WA representative Girls Uniform Agenda, a national group which campaigns for legislative and policy change in this area. She was also a driving force in getting Sofia's school to update their policy.
Ms Myhre now wants private schoolgirls to have a choice.