Four Women in Space

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.”

7 responses to “Four Women in Space

  1. Chris Campbell

    I had a male midwife during Charlotte’s birth and he was definitely a great advert for men in that traditionally female role! He was fab 🙂

  2. I like to think that I could pigeon hole my little one even if I tried. She’s so diverse in her tastes, and swings from Angelina Ballerina swirls to Power Ranger kicks and chops. She packs a mighty punch too, so watch out!

  3. *couldn’t… sorry 🙂

  4. This is a remarkable post, because you have captured what is so important about childhood – the opportunity to be anything and go anywhere.

    Why on earth would anyone ever want to take that away from any child?

  5. great post. i LOVE what you guys are doing. I struggled for ages to find great role models for my daughter, (never doubted that they were out there, it was just finding them that was problematic). So thanks for the hard work, the thoughts and for leading the way.

  6. You’re accomplishing such great things with this campaign! Anything that seeks to limit potential isn’t trivial.

  7. The first Briton in space was a woman (Helen Sharman). It’s remarkable how little that’s acknowledged.

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