Pinkstinks recently had great success in persuading Sainsbury’s to stop the gender stereotyping of its dressing-up clothes. We’re really proud of this and while I was putting together our next newsletter I was brooding on why something seemingly so trivial is really so important.
Did you know that there are four women in space right now? More women simultaneously than ever before. I find this so exciting. When Emma and I were kids we met Valentina Tereshkova, the first ever woman in space. We were 12 years old at the time and I remember shaking her hand and her telling us (through an interpreter) that we had nice names! It really stuck with me. She became real and her achievement all the more impressive as she stood there before us – a seemingly normal woman who had achieved unimaginable things.
As we now live in a world where four women are ‘up there’ at one time, in a world where women have commanded space shuttles, where they fly with the Red Arrows, where they win Oscars for directing movies, where they save lives in hospitals every day, how similarly unimaginable does it seem that we live in a world where doctors’ dressing-up clothes can still be labelled only for boys? And for that matter, why can’t boys be nurses? As someone who had a male midwife present at the birth of her first child, I can vouch for the second-to-none care I received from a man in what is almost exclusively thought of as a woman’s role.
So, trivial to some but not to us. Let’s open up the possibilities of all things to all children and not pigeon-hole them from the moment they’re born. Let’s encourage them to make believe that they can be anything they want to be. Let’s certainly not let big business tell them what they can and can’t be.
Someone who works ‘on the front line’, as they themselves put it, in a large toy store in the US emailed me recently. He said it so succinctly: “I just wish it wasn’t such a battle to provide kids with opportunities.”