Schoolgirls at a prestigious Victorian secondary college have been told to bring high heels to class for a lesson on walking and deportment.
September 1, 2017
Girton Grammar schoolgirls slam modern etiquette lesson with advice on walking in high heels
Schoolgirls at a prestigious Victorian college have been told to bring high heels to class for a lesson on walking and deportment.
Girton Grammar hired a consultant to deliver a modern etiquette lesson to VCE students as part of a weekly workshop to prepare them for life after school.
Girls were to be taught “deportment and presentation skills, including how to manage wearing high heels” in a female-only session.
But the students dug in their heels over the “demeaning and sexist” request, prompting the school to give it the boot.
Concerned students, who wished to remain anonymous, slammed the school for the outdated lesson.
“This is not 1950, this is 2017,” they said in a letter to the Herald Sun.
“On the one hand, we are being expected to excel at STEM subjects alongside the boys.
“On the other, we are being asked to bring in high heels so that we can learn to work in them.
“It is demeaning and sexist.”
Collective Shout’s Melinda Tankard Reist said the high-heel lesson sent the wrong message.
“It plays into gender stereotypes in the workforce that women are decorative objects tottering around on high heels,” she said.
“Not all women feel comfortable wearing high heels, nor should they have to.”
The elite Bendigo school charges up to $13,800 a year.
Headmaster Matthew Maruff said the modern etiquette workshop gave students expert information on “self-conduct in social and work environments”.
He said the advice on walking in high heels was to be dished out after the workshop, not as part of the lesson itself.
“At all times, we encourage our students to speak out respectfully on any issue that concerns them,” he said.
“In this instance, we were very glad that two students let us know that they felt uncomfortable being asked to bring high heels to school as part of the modern etiquette session. Several students did elect to seek advice related to wearing high heels after the session and the school was happy to support these students in that choice.”
The consultant, believed to be the mother of a student who graduated last year, did not return calls for comment.