Online dating gender differences
So out went boys-only football matches and books about fairytale princesses.
In came mixed sports teams, unisex books and posters proclaiming that ‘boys are sensitive’ and ‘girls are strong’.
And Grace says: ‘I think a firefighter is a boy because they need to hold up big ladders – what are really heavy.’Dr Abdelmoneim says: ‘On one level this just sounds like harmless kids’ talk.
But at just seven years old there is no doubt in their minds: some jobs men do and some women do and that is limiting.’To challenge the pupils’ preconceptions about the jobs on offer to them, the TV crew brings in a male ballet dancer, a female mechanic, a male make-up artist and a female magician.
He says: ‘I’m worried all I’ve done is upset a load of kids and none of this is having the slightest effect.’For the most part, the Year 3 children at Lanesend Primary School in Cowes on the Isle of Wight reacted positively to the changes – until the programme’s presenter, Dr Javid Abdelmoneim, struck at the heart of what really makes boys and girls different.‘You’ve got to start going to the same toilet,’ he announces to the class. Dr Abdelmoneim admitted last week: ‘The children didn’t like the toilet.’ He said the girls were particularly uncomfortable with the arrangement.
‘The girls were like, “Oh they [the boys] come out with their bits dangling out and they don’t wash their hands.” ’Mr Andre admitted parents were equally unhappy, adding: ‘The head put the toilets back to normal when the film cameras left.’He said: ‘We are getting some new toilets and I think we are going to make them gender-neutral.
He says: ‘Children occupy a world where adults are giving them messages constantly about what it means to be a boy or a girl.A cupboard with separate compartments for the boys’ and girls’ coats is removed. Books featuring characters ‘squarely aimed at boys’ – including Star Wars stories – are culled.