A new parenting group aimed at tackling gender stereotyping and unconscious bias has been set up in Perth.
Gender Equality Perth hopes to raise awareness of how unconscious biases can influence our behaviour and use of language around boys and girls.
Organisers believe inequality between men and women begins before children are even born and is reflected in everything from the words we use to the toys we choose for them.
They say raising awareness among parents is one way of addressing the issue.
‘Open and honest conversation’
Gender Equality Perth trustee Rebecca McClune has drawn on her own experiences as a parent in shaping the event.
She said: “We want to provide a space where people can have an open and honest conversation about everyone’s experiences and observations when it comes to young children, and encourage parents and carers to reflect on what they say, do, and buy for their kids.
“My eyes were really opened to the realities of gender stereotyping when I was pregnant with my first child, and four years on I’m still surprised by the cultural biases we encounter on a daily basis.
“I have always valued any opportunity to unpack these experiences with fellow parents and discuss ways to interrogate and challenge gender presumptions and stereotypes.
“We hope this group can provide that for others too.”
Challenging gender stereotypes
Aimed at parents, parents-to-be, relatives and carers, organisers of the event say challenging gender stereotypes is imperative.
Gender Equality Perth trustee Helen Reid said: “The Fawcett Society recently published a report highlighting how important it is to challenge gender stereotypes.
“The limitation to girls’ education and career opportunities, limitations to boys’ educational development and the mental and physical health implications of children with stereotyped views are just some of the key reasons why having these conversations are so important, for both individuals and society as a whole.”
The programme starts next week and will run for six months, with each discussion based on a different theme.
It is free to attend but participants are asked to book in advance on the Gender Equality Perth website.