‘No Gender December’ Causes Political Controversy


The gender equality debate has once again been reignited in Australian politics, and this time Santa’s been pulled into the ring.

Greens Senator Larissa Waters shared her support for the ‘No Gender December’ campaign that encouraged parents to question the way toy companies use gender stereotypes to market to children.

“The separate aisles of pink and blue common in many stores might seem harmless, especially to well-meaning relatives and friends, who are buying plenty of children’s gifts at this time of the year.” Senator Waters told the Nine Network.

“However, setting such stark gender roles at such an early age can have a long-term impacts on our children, including impacting self-perception and career choices later in life.

“Out-dated stereotypes about girls and boys and men and women, perpetuate gender inequality, which can feed into very serious problems such as domestic violence and the gender pay gap.

Swiftly, a number of politicians have weighed in on the issue. Senator Cory Bernardi made the following comments regarding Waters’ remarks:

“Frankly, I think she’s consumed too much Christmas eggnog to come up with an idea like this.”

Senator Bernardi said children “should be allowed to be children”.

“To say you’re giving a boy a truck or a hammer is somehow leading to domestic violence and gender pay gaps is simply bizarre,” he said.

“I hope that Santa brings Senator Waters some common sense for Christmas.”

Prime Minister and Minister for Women Tony Abbott, who in March credited his daughter into turning him into a feminist, today told the Nine Network his thoughts on the issue:

“I certainly don’t believe in that kind of political correctness. Let boys be boys, let girls be girls. That’s always been my philosophy,” he said.

“Above all else, let parents do what they think is in the best interests of their children.”

‘No Gender December’ was founded by Thea Hughes and Julie Huberman with the aim of encouraging toy companies to be more inclusive in their marketing.

“There is nothing wrong with pink and princesses for girls as long as they are also free to play with toys that promote the development of other important skills. Conversely, there’s nothing wrong with boys playing with trucks and building model aeroplanes if they are also encouraged to nurture other aspects of themselves.” The campaign website reads.

“…many mothers mow the lawn, many fathers push prams, many brothers enjoy cooking and sisters own drills, many uncles are hairdressers, many aunts are doctors. Why aren’t these realities reflected in toy shops?”

Sophie Joske

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