Gender bias is alive and well despite recent calls to address sexism in the classroom.
Dr Pragya Agarwal, author of Sway: Unravelling Unconscious Bias, sent her daughter to nursery with her favourite book only to be told the book wasn’t suitable.
The three-year-old girl’s favourite book about Frida Kahlo from the Little People: Big Dreams range. The child was excited to share one of her favourite books about a legendary artist, but was told she couldn’t by the nursery workers.
According to the nursery a book about an artist is not an appropriate read for circle time because it wouldn’t interest the boys in the class. Not only does this gender bias show that misogyny is alive and well, but it is operating in our nurseries, influencing kids as soon as they enter education. This is not only upsetting for the girls to know they, and their interests, are considered worth less than boys, but it also dismisses boys’ interests in anything considered ‘feminine’ as wrong.
When Dr Pragya Agarwal posted her outrage on Twitter, people had opinions to share!
My 3 yr old took this to nursery for 'circle time' when they read diff books. She was told: 'Oh don't think boys will like this book'— Dr Pragya Agarwal (@DrPragyaAgarwal) February 13, 2020
Not only could she not share her joy of a book she loves but she has also been given a message that girls & boys like diff things. I am livid. pic.twitter.com/0KWl7Ph1pN
Very sorry to hear this @DrPragyaAgarwal & hope your daughter is okay. We believe that stories are for everyone 😊 - your daughter might be interested in finding out about some children who have campaigned to #LetBooksBeBooks https://t.co/pJZiZH5jzu cc @whatSFSaid pic.twitter.com/mrFuA4ZMcl— Let Toys Be Toys (@LetToysBeToys) February 13, 2020
Teaching boys to value and take interest in 'feminine' things and to be inspired by female role models is such an important step towards #GenderEquality.— Gender Action - awards for schools and nurseries (@_Gender_Action) February 13, 2020
That teacher missed a great opportunity. pic.twitter.com/RwuXNBBNDm
Hi Pragya! 👋🏻 We're the publisher of this series and would love to send your daughter's nursery a full set of the women in the series, so your daughter, and her peers, can access these inspiring stories everyday — DM us the details if they're interested 🙂 #LittlePeopleBigDreams— Quarto Kids (@QuartoKids) February 14, 2020
Agreed, but the nursery is also underestimating the boys’ ability to enjoy the book by assuming they won’t like it. I have three sons and they would all have loved reading it when they were at pre-school— Richard Grayshon (@richardgrayshon) February 14, 2020