One of the oldest and largest independent providers of school uniforms in the UK will no longer market them for boys or girls. Instead, its uniforms will be promoted as gender neutral, even removing packaging if the colour signifies a gender divide.
“My interest is encapsulated in a single experience: meeting a 10-year-old girl who didn’t tick enough criteria for diagnosis, but was clearly autistic. I felt a huge sense of injustice. What opportunity was this little girl going to have to tell her stories other than in a clinician’s room – and she wasn’t believed there. She’d just have to go through life believing she was what other people called ‘weird’ but without knowing why."
Frustrated that they couldn’t find shirts for their five sons with unicorns on them or bright colours, animals, sparkles and rainbows, Eva St Clair and Rebecca Melsky decided to make them themselves. “Gender stereotypes work both ways,” said St Clair. “Things that have been deemed ‘for girls’ do not appear on boys’ clothing anywhere and that limits what all kids can be and do."
The employment rate of women over the age of 65 represents the fastest growth in any age sector, increasing over the same time from 4.7% to 7.9%, an increase of 67%.
Female part-time workers or women with low-grade jobs are at greatest risk of financial insecurity in later life, the report found. Women who have spent most of their lives working part-time are no better off in retirement than women who have never worked. There is also evidence which suggests that people from ethnic minority backgrounds are less likely to have adequate pension savings, with women from ethnic minority backgrounds at particular risk.
There are, of course, a multitude of ways in which parents can try to prevent their sons sliding into this slipstream. But all too soon, our influence is first diluted, then trumped by our children’s peers.