There is a fabulous piece on the BBC today entitled 'Aiming Toys At Just Boys Or Girls Hurts Economy'
which was a debate led by Chi Onwurah, a woman who was a successful engineer for 20 years before
entering Parliament. We fully agree with what this article is saying, that is why we started burp! boutique
as we were aghast at what the high street had to offer for newborn baby boys and girls.
This, seemingly innocent colour gender segregation goes incredibly deep regarding our children's futures.
Starting from birth children are hoodwinked into either blue or pink, princesses or trucks, pushchairs or
footballs, science or housework. Children learn through play and I know from my daughter's friends that boys
like dressing as fairies too and using pushchairs, just as the girls love dressing as Spiderman and making
lego towers. So why is it necessary for the big corporate companies to be constantly pushing the big
pink and blue divide? Profit margins. Yep the greed comes out yet again - you won't be able to pass down
that pink princess bike to your 'Action Man' boy - and at what expense? Our children, their dreams and our
economy. There is a major skills shortage across science and technology, engineering and the maths sector
at the moment. Girls grow up being herded into other careers through passive, aggressive marketing so this
whole sector is missing out on vital talent.
The sad scenario is that it doesn't really matter what you do at home your child will be inundated with the
seemingly harmless pigeon holing. It was Evie's birthday just a few weeks ago and the piles of pink, princessy
gifts left me feeling very uncomfortable. It would be wonderful if you could walk into a toy shop and not be
surrounded by the instant segregation, the towers of looming pink toys staring down at you. Boys get a much
better deal and this transposes itself later in life where the higher paid jobs are primarily male lead.
Evie did, however, get a GoldieBlox kit for her birthday from her wonderful American Aunt. I've blogged about
GoldieBlox before and again it was started by another engineer who is a woman who was astounded by the
lack of female students in that area, so she started GoldieBlox to hopefully help change perceptions for young
girls. And Evie flipping loved the kit! She constructed a Dunk Tank game which she was very excited about,
and yes she did change into a pink dress and tiara at the end! ;D
"Why should girls be brought up in an all-pink environment? It does not reflect the real world. I should say
that had anyone attempted to give me a pink soldering iron when I was designing circuit boards, they would
have found my use of it not at all in accordance with their health and safety." Chi Onwurah