An innovative preschool in Stockholms Sodermalm district does not enroll boys or girls, reports the Associated Press , but friends. Fighting the good fight for gender equality in the nation that is perhaps its most radical proponent, the tax-funded preschool Egalia aims at eliminating gender stereotypes that often accompany early childhood education: Society expects girls to be girlie, nice and pretty, and boys to be manly, rough and outgoing, claims Jenny Johnson, one of Egalias teachers. Egalia gives them the fantastic opportunity to be whoever they want to be.
On the cutting edge of the gender equality effort, Egalia has taken the radical measure of doing away with gender-denoting pronouns. Substituting the genderless (and previously non-existent)hen for the male and female pronouns han and hon, the preschool can anticipate visits from doctors and plumbers, says director Lotta Rajalin, imagining both a man or a woman. This widens their view. I suppose the widened view is shattered, however, when an actual man or woman arrives.
Experiments like Egalia may be troubling or perhaps only ridiculous for those with more traditional sensibilities, but such an endeavor is not surprising from a nation whose own Science Council granted $80,000 for a postdoctoral fellowship aimed at analyzing the trumpet as a symbol of gender.