School bans "him" and "her". Everyone now an "it"..
You're all equal here: Swedish school bans 'him' and 'her' in bid to stop children falling into gender stereotypes
A pre-school in Sweden has decided to stop calling children 'him' or 'her' in a bid to avoid gender stereotypes.
The Egalia preschool, in the Sodermalm district of Stockholm, has made the decision as part of the country efforts to engineer equality between the sexes from childhood.
As well as the decision to stop using the words, the taxpayer-funded school also carefully plans the colour and placement of toys and the choice of books to assure they do not fall into stereotypes.
The school opened last year and is on a mission to break down gender roles - a core mission in the national curriculum for Swedish pre-schools.
The option to implement the rules is 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,' says Jenny Johnsson, a 31-year-old teacher.
'Egalia gives them a fantastic opportunity to be whoever they want to be.'
At the school, boys and girls play together with a toy kitchen, waving plastic utensils and pretending to cook. One boy hides inside the toy stove, his head popping out through a hole.
Lego bricks and other building blocks are intentionally placed next to the kitchen, to make sure the children draw no mental barriers between cooking and construction.
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.
Director Lotta Rajalin notes that Egalia places a special emphasis on fostering an environment tolerant of ***, *******, bisexual and transgender people.
Rajalin says the staff also try to help the children discover new ideas when they play.
'A concrete example could be when they're playing 'house' and the role of the mom already is taken and they start to squabble,' she says. 'Then we suggest two moms or three moms and so on.'