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Friday 30 March 2018

Challenging Societal Trends

It has been a few weeks since we all celebrated 'International Woman's Day'.  A specific day allocated to highlight the achievements of women since 1909 as well as the daily struggles.  There was an expectation that this would help eradicate the expectation and preconceptions of the past to make new paths for the future.

I grew up in a time where there was a national drive for girls to achieve academically and this was encouraged by my parents, who both grew up with limited opportunity.  The assumption for us was if you worked hard you would achieve anything you wanted to do.  Empowering stuff!

So how is it now, over a hundred years after that first International Woman's Day and thirty years since I was in school are our children more shackled by gender and class?

 As parents and teachers we empower our girls valiantly with the aspirations that were once foretold to me, however, society has changed.  Definitions and attitudes have reverted somewhat and we as women are fighting against this growing trend.  Mainstream clothing and toys are now predetermined by gender, which then in turn has its own set of predetermined rules.  Specific styles and colours are outlined for each gender.  Through doing this, gender roles and therefore aspirations are being predestined.  Which is then backed up by the right-wing media running continually stories of 'political correctness gone mad' at the very notion of gender neutral clothing.

If we step away from the British High Street chains, there is a whole world out there full of innovative and creative people that are challenging the current norm.  Believing in a better, more equal world.  It is vital we empower our girls, but it is equally essential we educate and support boys.  It is only when no one is left behind that we will have a more harmonious society.


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