Title Image: Roll Down Your Skit. How schools teach rape culture and victim blaming through uniform checks

Young women and girls told us that they are having their school uniforms ‘policed’ in a sexist and sexualised manner.   Our volunteer activists established a Young Women’s Steering Group to guide this work.

The first step was to find out more about this issue.  The Young Women’s Steering Group worked with our activists to design the research, disseminate the online survey, carry out interviews and analyse the results.

Through the research we have established that there are three key, interlinking concerns with regards to policing young women and girls’ uniforms in a sexist and/or sexualised way:

  • The impact on young women and girls’ education
  • The impact on mental health and self-consciousness, in the short and long term
  • The links to rape culture.

Click on the images to download the Executive Summary or the Full Report of the research findings.

What do we mean when we say ‘policed’?

We mean when  somebody in a position of power comments on a person’s school uniform in a negative way. This can be for many reasons, such as they think it is not in line with their interpretation of uniform policy.  Sometimes young women and girls might be asked to change, sometimes they will receive a punishment / consequence.

Click here to view executive summary
Executive Summary
Click here to view full report
Full Report

Young Women’s Steering Group and RCTN Activists have used the findings from the research to create the Roll Down Your Skirt! campaign.   The animations below were designed to communicate key messages from the campaign.

The Young Women’s Steering group created the scripts for the animations based on the research results.  The scripts can be found in the full research report.

The avatars in the animations were created by The Crow Factory based on specifications given by the Young Women’s Steering Group.  The avatars each represent a member of the Young Women’s Steering Group, with the exception of the adult avatar in the animation about the impact on mental health which is based on one of our volunteer activists.

The research report and animations aim to empower young women and girls whilst offering solidarity. We hope that the findings of the report and animations motivate school staff and governors to reflect upon practice within their schools and take steps to make change.

Press play to hear an overview of this campaign and the issues it aims to tackle.

Press play to hear how this issue impacts on young women and girls’ mental health.

Press play to hear how this issue impacts on young women and girls’ education.

Press play to hear how this issue reinforces rape culture and victim blaming.

Taking steps to make a change

We know that schools do not have uniform policies that are intended to be sexist or aimed at sexualising young women and girls. We also know that Teachers, like most people in our society, have internalised rape culture and this can at times leak into how school uniforms are policed.

We want to help schools to make changes that will have a positive impact on the young people in their communities.

We are doing this by sharing the research and animations with schools and letting them know if sexist and/or sexualised school uniform policing happens. 

If you are a young woman or girl from Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland or South Tyneside then please tell us if you experience sexist and/or sexualised school uniform policing.  The experience should be recent (within this school year) and you can tell us about it through emailing uniforms@rctn.org.uk

Please include:

 – The name of your school

 – A brief description of the incident, including when it happened

 – If you would like to be identified to the school

When we receive information about sexist and/or sexualised school uniform policing we will take steps to inform the school so that they can address this issue.  At each stage we will share information about the campaign including the impact of sexist and/or sexualised school uniform policing on young women and girls.  The aim of this contact will be to foster an environment where real change can happen for young women and girls who are experiencing this.

The Young Women’s Steering Group were supported by Digital Voice to create the animations.

With thanks to ROSA, the UK fund for women and girls.

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