Children play in the garden of “Egalia”. Fredrik Sandberg / AP file
Remember that Swedish pre-school that’s fighting gender bias with totally common sense but nonetheless badass tactics like ‘treating everyone the same’ ? Well if you were interested in that story, you should check out this piece as a follow up. Turns out things are going pretty swimmingly for the school that’s breaking ground and taking names when it comes to flouncing this whole “gender inequality thing”. This most recent profile offers some charming new details about the teachers’ efforts to provide the students with a gender neutral education including their use of the gender neutral pronoun “hen” (or no pronoun at all, substituting it at time for “friends”):
”…this taxpayer-financed preschool, known as the Nicolaigarden for a saint whose chapel was once in the 300-year-old building that houses it, is perhaps one of the more compelling examples of the country’s efforts to blur gender lines and, theoretically, cement opportunities for both women and men.
What the children are taught, said Malin Engleson, an art gallery employee, as she fetched her 15-month-old daughter Hanna from the school, “shows that girls can cry, but boys too.”
“That’s why we chose it,” she said. “It’s so important to start at an early age.”
Sounds like an exemplary model. But the school hasn’t received all rave reviews:
A persistent critic has been Tanja Bergkvist, a mathematician at Uppsala University whose blog consistently attacks Sweden’s “gender madness.” In an article for the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, she questioned whether children were not being “brainwashed by our parents already at the age of 3 months.” On outings, she mocked, “what do they do when a girl is picking flowers, while a boy collects rocks?”