In the case referred to by the Deputy, the Department of Education has made initial contact with the school and is engaging further to establish the facts in this case in order to provide a report for my attention.
It is important to note that decisions on school uniform policies are a matter for the school's board of management at local level. Schools are advised to consult with parents and students when drafting a policy on uniforms. My Department provides funding and policy direction for schools. It has legal powers to investigate individual complaints where the complaint involves a refused enrolment, expulsion or suspension, in accordance with section 29 of the Education Act 1998. The Department's role is also to clarify for parents and students how their grievances and complaints against schools can be progressed.
With regard to the broader question posed by the Deputy, I agree that there is no place for sexist attitudes in Irish society, including in our schools. The Department has been working along with other Departments and agencies to support the full implementation of the National Women and Girls Strategy 2017-2020. The vision of the strategy is "an Ireland where all women enjoy equality with men and can achieve their full potential, while enjoying a safe and fulfilling life". The overall goal of the strategy is "to change attitudes and practices preventing women's and girls' full participation in education, employment and public life at all levels, and to improve services for women and girls, with priority given to the needs of those experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, the poorest outcomes."
It is the aim of the Department that every child has access to equitable education and that each learner feels safe and happy in the school environment, at every stage. The curriculum at both primary and post-primary levels aims to foster inclusivity where equality and diversity are promoted. Attitudes towards gender are primarily explored in the social, personal and health education, SPHE, curriculum. This is addressed in an age-appropriate manner from primary level through to senior cycle. At each level, multiple strands of the SPHE curriculum examines gender roles and stereotyping and their adverse effect, in particular regarding gender effects. As a part of the curriculum, students explore and deepen their awareness of stereotyping and its influence on attitudes and behaviour.