In the latest government-led initiative, childcare centres, preschools and libraries will now have to check children’s books, toys and posters to ensure they are gender neutral and don’t succumb to gender stereotypes.
Created by Melbourne’s Darebin City Council, the Creating Gender Equity in the Early Years guide has introduced this in a bid to tackle family violence.
The guide, as reported by The Australian, wants to rectify the difference in how girls and boys play. “What are the storylines of their play telling you about what the children think are the normal roles for women and men?,” the guide reads.
Gendered play will be discouraged, along with gender-specific language. You will no longer hear ‘boys don’t cry’ or girls being told to play with their Barbies and boys to play with their toy trucks.
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The guide suggests that the storylines for all books should be thoroughly reviewed and asked questions like,"How many books include only male characters?", "Do the attributes, activities and behaviours of the main character reflect gender stereotypes?", and "Do female characters achieve success because of their own initiative and intelligence, or is it due to their looks and relationships with male characters?"
The initiative is part of the Respectful Relationships program which was one of 10 local government projects aimed at preventing violence against women.
“If girls are interested in playing with dolls, that’s fine, as long as we’re not preventing them from exploring other interests as well,” said Teneille Summers, Darebin Council's preventing violence against women officer.
“It’s about thinking about ways that everyone can have a go in each of the (play) corners,” she continued.