Swedish preschool bans gender, but does it promote equality?

A few weeks ago, a Canadian couple made news for deciding to keep the gender of their five-month-old baby a secret in order to allow the child to avoid the pressure of gender stereotypes.

Everybody had an expert opinion on the matter, from doctors and psychiatrists to ministers and talk show hosts. But now these self-proclaimed experts have a larger target: an entire school.

The Associated Press reports that Swedish preschool Egalia has decided to remove all reference to gender in an effort to achieve equality between the sexes. Every detail has been carefully examined, from colors to toys to choice of books, in order to remove gender stereotypes. The staff never uses words like “him” or “her” (often using “hen” instead) and calls the children “friends” rather than girls and boys.

Egalia, which is located in Stockholm, decided on the approach as part of Sweden’s National Curriculum for Preschoolers, designed to break down gender roles that give males unfair advantages.

If Pat Robertson and his spiritual kin have heard about Egalia, we might finally be rid of them because this part of the story could cause them to stroke out.

At Egalia – the title connotes “equality” – boys and girls play together with a toy kitchen, waving plastic utensils and pretending to cook. One boy hides inside the toy stove, his head popping out through a hole.

Lego bricks and other building blocks are intentionally placed next to the kitchen, to make sure the children draw no mental barriers between cooking and construction.

Director Lotta Rajalin notes that Egalia places a special emphasis on fostering an environment tolerant of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. From a bookcase, she pulls out a story about two male giraffes who are sad to be childless – until they come across an abandoned crocodile egg.

Nearly all the children’s books deal with homosexual couples, single parents or adopted children. There are no “Snow White,” “Cinderella” or other classic fairy tales seen as cementing stereotypes.

Who decides what needs to be changed? Professional “gender pedagogues” hired by the school. Of course, we all know that these people are secret agents of the Gay Agenda.

One odd note is that the school’s dolls are anatomically correct, acknowledging that biological gender difference indeed exists. But we get no explanation as to why preschools would have anatomically correct dolls in the first place.

You know, I understand the idea behind this. But my gut reaction is that doing away with gender actually reinforces the notion that one gender has advantages over the other. Gender equality means that we can choose to live our lives however we wish regardless of our gender. Perhaps the focus should be on creating equal opportunities for her and him and leave the pronouns alone.

Do you agree? Is banning gender a good way to promote gender equality?

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