The purpose of our blog is to discuss topical issues, stories, and situations, as well as to share what we are up to and new ways for you to get involved. We are always searching for possible answers to the question: Why is a girl's worth culturally and historically relative?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Gender-free Preschool

Children playing in the garden of Egalia.
AP Photo/Scanpix Sweden, Fredrik Sandberg.  June 20, 2011.

Here on the Girl Museum Blog we've previously written about women fighting back against the stereotype of girls being pretty in pink, and a Swedish couple who is attempting to raise their baby "gender free" by refusing to reveal the child's sex.

Taking a slightly different tact from the parents of "Baby Pop,"the Egalia preschool in Stockholm, while being fully aware of the sex of the children, the children are not referred to as "him" or "her" and are not described as "girls" or "boys," but rather as "friends."  Every detail has been examined with a close eye, from the colour of the toys to ensuring that building blocks have been placed next to the play kitchen--to show that the value of construction and building with blocks is no higher or lower than playing house.  Nor has the school tried to deny or downplay biological differences--all the dolls at Egalia are anatomically correct (as well as being of a variety of races); instead, the goal of the school is to separate biological differences from interest and ability. 

Although there is some controversy surrounding Egalia (it is taxpayer-funded, for one), since the school opened in 2010 only one family has removed their child, and there is a long waiting list for admittance to Egalia.

-Katie Weidmann
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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