What are you doing to promote gender equality in your family?

In Sweden there’s a school named “Egalia” that became an emblem of Gender Neutral Schooling. At Egalia, every detail – from the type of toys to the proposed activities – is studied to make sure children don’t fall into gender stereotypes. The most surprising thing is that the words “girl”, “boy”, “he”, “she” are never used, since each of the 33 kids attending the school is addressed with gender-neutral words.

The debate around Gender Neutral Education is vivid. While it is widely accepted we need to do more for gender equality (and certainly Sweden is one of countries doing more about it) the Egalia approach sounds too ideological to many.

A while ago we talked about an adorable little girl complaining about a pink hoven and about the fact that pink toys are considered for girls only. Well, she’s not alone. McKenna Pope, a 13-year-old girl from New Jersey, launched a petition on change.org asking that Hasbro make his Easy-Bake Oven gender-neutral, so that his little brother, and all the other boys who liked cooking, could use it without feeling it “wrong.”

Her petition was a success, showing there is a critical mass of people who care about the issue (44 000 signed the petition), and Hasbro created a black-and-silver prototype of the oven, which is expected to go on sale on February.

Toys and games play a great role in shaping our image of society, and we believe it’s time we stop reinforcing the gender stereotypes through the way we market toys. Some little boys will become chefs, and some little girls engineers, and the toys they use should reflect the steps society has done towards gender equality.

It all starts with children, and so toy makers, publishers, educators and parents play an extremely important role in promoting an equal vision of society amongst new generations, and there is a lot they can do, for instance applying an excellent method such as Montessori’s, like Persephone Magazine suggests.

What are you doing to promote gender equality in your family? We’d love you to share best practices.

4 comments
oliver
oliver

I agree to a certain point and we need to make sure to give all opportunities to both genders. On the other hand I do believe that there are some differences between the genders (I ve never been a car fan, but our son went crazy for every car he saw on the street, the bigger it was, the louder he shouted. On the other hand, his little sister (3rs younger) grew up in our household, full of toy cars. she never showed any interest but rather took care about a little doll she found in his room. OK, statistically that doesnt count much. So I think we should not fall into the other extreme and negate genders and its special requirements. But if a girl shows talent for engeneering, she has to get all support. And if a boy wants to go to ballett - just support that too.

Elena
Elena

And what about clothes? If you have more than a child, boys and girls, it's even hard to pass clothes and shoes to one another. Even jeans are shaped differently for boys and girls since size 0. It's a big affort to make sure no prejudice puts boundaries around their choices. We can try to build up a neutral thought by our example: mum can take care of the car and dad wash the dishes in a very interchangeable way, we can be more consciuos of what we buy to our kids, more knowledgeble in our choices...at least we should try...

Matic Bitenc
Matic Bitenc

I completely agree, reinforcing those stereotypes gets us in a lot of trouble as a society. If we don't make more gender neutral content for our children now, we'll still have the same gender inequalities in politics, business and every sphere of life 20 years later. I'm disgusted each time I open a toy catalog about how blatant and obvious the gender separation is at such an early age. What's even more horrifying is how people accept it as a given and never question it. Then we ask ourselves why aren't any female engineers signing up to the job positions we open...