Girls in pink on gender row

Heather Scott.
Heather Scott.
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A leading Leeds lady has spoken out against the theory that the colour pink makes women weak by saying ‘pink is powerful’.

Pink lady Heather Scott, the head teacher of Bruntcliffe School in Morley, dispelled the myth after politicians in London debated the dangers of gender stereotyping for young children.

Ms Scott told the Yorkshire Evening Post she disagreed with MP Jenny Willott, who had said girls who played with dolls and wore pink were likely to be damaging their future prospects.

She said: “Pink is a powerful colour, a happy colour - that’s why girls like it.”

While running a school is a serious business, Ms Scott has also allowed her office to reflect her pink passion, with everything, including her keyboard and mouse, decorated in the colour.

And the head teacher has also put her money where her mouth is with a project which dispels gender bias. Bruntcliffe School’s partnership with Wates Construction in Leeds has launched a joint ‘The Sky Is The Limit’ project, giving girls just as much of an insight into careers in construction as their male counterparts.

“In the biggest recession the world’s ever seen, we need to do these [projects],” said Ms Scott.

A gender-neutral approach is also taken for much younger children in Leeds. Linzi Page, the manager of Little People Nursery in Bramley, said children did not follow a gender bias when choosing toys to play with. She said: “We encourage the children to follow their own interests. When they do role play they can do whatever they want and we discourage thinking like ‘this is what boys can do’ and ‘this is what girls can do’.

“Girls love the blocks and train set and boys play with pushchairs.”

At the nursery’s ‘pirates and princesses’ fancy dress day yesterday none of the boys came as princesses but a handful of the 40 girls did dress as pirates.

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While teachers in Leeds strive to provide a general-neutral start for children, some of the city’s toy retailers are taking their time.

Campaign group Let Toys be Toys surveys retailers to see which arrange toys by gender and which by type, letting children make up their own minds.

Co-founder Megan Perryman said Morrisons was the “most sexist of all major retails over Christmas” despite previously promising to make changes.

A statement from the firm to us said: “Morrisons has updated the signage in many of our stores and removed the reference to “boys” and “girls” toys.

“We are aware that the old signage remains in some stores and we are working to address this.”