An 11-Year-Old Student Just Scored A Huge Win For Girls In Western Australia

Yep, it’s 2017. And yep, Australian girls were still being forced to wear skirts to school — until now.

The phrase “girl power” may have been popularized in the 1990s, but the sentiment is alive and well in the Land Down Under. Recently, authorities in Western Australia instituted a rule change that allows girls to wear pants and shorts in public schools in the state. The change, which bucks decades of tradition, was prompted by an impassioned plea from Sofia Myhre, an 11-year-old student in Perth, Australia. Sofia’s handwritten letter to the state’s education minister, Sue Ellery, argued that being limited to skirts and dresses is “really unfair.”

“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 tween wrote. “I really love kicking the footy, netball and doing handstands at recess and lunch. It is annoying doing these things in a skirt.”

Sofia’s mother, Krystina Myhre, is a member of Girl’s Uniform Agenda, a group that advocates for expanded dress code options for girls throughout Australia. Myhre encouraged her daughter to write to the department of education to express her feelings about the antiquated rule.

Sofia Myhre's letter to Western Australia's education minister.

“My daughter and her friends have been quite unhappy about it for some time,” Myhre said. She argued girls regularly opt out of sports and other physical activities because they don’t feel comfortable undertaking them in a dress. On the Girl’s Uniform Agenda website, Myhre’s group asks, “The wearing of dresses and skirts is no longer an expectation of women in society — so why do we continue to force this archaic stereotype on school girls?”

Apparently, Western Australia's state education minister agreed.

“An 11-year-old girl should be able to wear shorts to school,” Ellery told Perth Now. “In 2017, girls should be able to wear clothes that don’t restrict their ability to participate in physical activity at school.”

The rule change doesn’t apply to all of the schools in Western Australia, however. Private schools are exempt from having to offer female students expanded uniform options, and institutions in other parts of the country have been slow to adopt the measure. According to The New York Times, 70% of schools in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia's third largest city, require girls to wear skirts or dresses to school, which is likely similar in the country’s other states.

Still, momentum for nondiscriminatory uniform practices is growing. Recently, the education minister of Victoria, James Merlino, promised to ensure female students in the state will be allowed to have the option to wear shorts or trousers to school.

Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

Keep Reading Show less

September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

Keep Reading Show less
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less