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Swedish preschool bans gender

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A pre-school in Sweden has decided to stop referring to children as “him” or “her” in an effort to obtain equality between the sexes from childhood.

The Egalia preschool, in the Sodermalm district of Stockholm made the decision as a part of the national curriculum for Swedish preschools to stop children falling into gender stereotypes.

Staff at the school has tried to shed masculine and feminine references from their speech, including the pronouns him or her – “han” or “hon” in Swedish and instead, they have adopted the genderless “hen”.

“We use the word ‘Hen’ for example when a doctor, police, electrician or plumber or such is coming to the kindergarten,” the Daily Mail quoted Lotta Rajalin, the director of the preschool as saying.

“We don’t know if it’s a he or a she so we just say ‘Hen is coming around 2 p.m.’ Then the children can imagine both a man and a woman. This widens their view,” she said.

The option to implement the rules was underpinned by a theory that society gives boys an unfair edge

“Society expects girls to be girlie, nice and pretty and boys to be manly, rough and outgoing,” Jenny Johnsson, a 31-year-old teacher said.

“Egalia gives them a fantastic opportunity to be whoever they want to be,” she added.

Meanwhile, nearly all the children’s books deal with homosexual couples, single parents or adopted children. There are no ‘Snow White,’ ‘Cinderella’ or other fairy tales.

Rajalin also noted that Egalia placed a special emphasis on fostering an environment tolerant of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.


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