Two private schools have been accused of sexism after boys have been told to wear pinstriped business suits – while girls have to dress “like secretaries”.
Bablake and King Henry VIII schools’ have come under fire after introducing uniforms that some parents and pupils say promotes “gender stereotyping”.
The £10,500-a-year schools were slammed after they revealed the new dress code in a glossy brochure, produced by corporate suit-maker Brook Taverner.
Pictures show men power-dressed in pinstriped suits complete with waistcoats while women model secretarial outfits with many skirts cut above the knee.
Sixth form students are being asked to fork out up to £230 for the new uniform which will come into force from September.
But pupils from the schools – run by Coventry School Foundation – expressed outrage on social media, branding the policy “out-dated sexist rubbish.”
Deeps Sinha tweeted: “This issue with uniforms isn’t just us being petulant or anything, we have genuine cause for concern.
“The uniforms seem mainly directed towards girls, as the boys’ uniforms are mostly generic and already what they wear.”
Hannah Rose added: “A school that apparently celebrates diversity, but wants to shun individuality with a sixth form uniform well done.”
Another said: “So the boys wear business suits straight out of Wall Street while the girls totter about on high heels in secretary skirts. When did Bablake turn into Mad Men?
“A truly shocking example of an out-dated sexist set of gender stereotypes. Rubbish.”
A page set up on Twitter to fight the uniform, called @LesbosAgnstBras states: “Bablake pupils be like, oh well rules are rules lets all just follow the uniform code.
“This is a sexist issue.”
But pupil Adam Keir defended the policy, and wrote: “People confusing rights with rules.
“We have the right to education, so many children don’t. How’s that for oppression of rights? Open your eyes.”
Nick Payne added: “The reason they’re doing this is because for years girls have disobeyed the much more lenient dress code that they had in place.”
Mark Woodward, head of careers at Bablake, tweeted: “The Bablake I am so proud of encourages free debate and is fiercely supportive of feminism and equality.
“Would urge students and parents to consult school re uniform concerns as all pupils’ well-being crucial.”
One parent said: “I am outraged. They are letting the boys dress like high-flying CEOs while forcing the girls to dress like secretaries.
“Parents pay a not inconsiderable amount of money to send their daughters to this school. The vast majority would certainly not expect the school to tell them to dress like a woman from the 1950s.”
Another parent said: “We paid for our children to go to a progressive school, but this is like the bad old days.
“It seems sexism is still rife amongst the powers that be. It’s a disgrace.”
A spokesman for Coventry School Foundation said: “We have been looking at our sixth form dress code for a while to ensure our standards are maintained.
“Both King Henry VIII and Bablake Schools have either consulted or are in the process of consulting with parents, pupils, staff and governors about the possibility of introducing a selection of standardised suits for both boys and girls rather than the current vaguer interpretation of smart business wear.
“There is quite a range – with several different styles and jackets.
“We have had an external supplier let us have samples, which some pupils within the Foundation have been shown and tried out.”
Cassino or Imola jackets – £105
Trousers – £49.
Prato shirt – £32
Brusso waistcoat – £45
Total – £231.
Calvi or Novara jackets – £95
Bronte skirt – £95
Felina blouse – £24
Scapoli waistcoat – £45
Total – £209.