Oh little girls !! To your delight God has blessed you with a girl to love and raise.
Girls are the apple of Daddy’s eye, and full of wonder, questions and discovery.
From the time they are very small society has told us that it is important for toys to be gender specific. That girls are to only play with dolls, and homemaking toys. While boys generally played with trucks and cars. Faced with a fork in the road: do you take the blue lane, with its miniature helicopters, chemistry sets and binoculars, or do you take the pink lane, with its kitchens, dolls and make up kits? Despite the leaps and bounds in the gender equality movement over the past few decades, children’s learning tools are still stuck in the Fifties. Could this be why we still wouldn’t trust a male beautician or a female plumber?
Despite it being the 21st century, gender stereotypes are attached to children from a startlingly young age – in fact, often before they are even born. Parents-to-be paint babies’ rooms blue or pink while aunts and uncles buy gifts based on how many X chromosomes the foetus has. Once the baby arrives, it will no doubt drink out of a bottle decorated with either pirates or princesses. And so the separate paths begin. Could this be why we still wouldn’t trust a male beautician or a female plumber?
The time has come when we must acknowledge the amazing skills and potential of girls to do or be anything they desire
Megan Perryman, a Let Toys Be Toys campaigner, said: “If they’re never offered the chance, a child may never find out if they enjoy a certain toy or style of play. Children are taking in these messages about what girls and boys are ‘supposed to like’. They are looking for patterns and social rules – they understand the gender rule ‘This is for boys and that is for girls,’ in the same way as other sorts of social rules, like ‘Don’t hit’. These rigid boundaries turn children away from their true preferences.”
The toys and trinkets we give children are so much more than playthings: they inspire their imaginations and nurture their learning. They teach boys and girls how to solve problems, socialise, and develop their motor skills. Pushing boys away from playing with dolls potentially excludes them from entering caring professions; likewise, stopping girls from building miniature aeroplanes could be the reason for the low amount of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) fields.
Even though men and women are more equal in the workplace than ever before, it seems our prejudices are still holding us back. So next time you’re in the local toy shop, get your niece a tractor or your grandson a pram – you never know, you might be introducing them to their future career.