Cambridge adopts gender-neutral dress code for grads

Cambridge University has changed its historic dress code, theoretically allowing men to graduate in skirts - and women in suits

Isabelle Gerretsen
Friday 30 August 2013 10:56
University of Cambridge graduates will now be able to graduate in either skirts or suits, irrespective of gender
University of Cambridge graduates will now be able to graduate in either skirts or suits, irrespective of gender

The University of Cambridge has opted for a new gender-neutral dress code for its graduation ceremonies.

In effect, the change means that men could wear skirts for graduation – and women suits. The new description comes following a campaign from transgender and LGBT representatives.

The president of Cambridge University student union LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transsexual) Charlie Bell praised the ‘long overdue’ decision and said: “The ease with which I got this change through shows how sensible the University is on these issues and how they take their commitment to equality seriously.”

The ‘dress at graduation’ statute previously required all students to wear dark clothes with academic dress, however, it stipulated men were to wear ‘white ties and bands’. Under the new guidelines, Cambridge does not specify which gender can wear a suit or dinner jacket – leaving it open to personal discretion.

A spokesperson for the University of Cambridge said: “This is an adjustment to University policy which responded to a representation from students, and is in line with the University’s commitment to equality.”

Sarah Gibson, the transgender representative for CUSU LGBT+ also welcomed the amendment, describing it as 'long-overdue'.

“We hope that Cambridge University will help us dispel the myths and misinformation that surrounds transgender people, as is befitting of a place of knowledge and enlightenment," she said.

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