Consumer affairs minister and Lib Dem MP Jenny Willott has today raised the well wrung out debate about feminism and pink and blue colours. The fact that fewer women are taking up science and engineering jobs is a valid reason for doing so. She reckons that if we all lavished dinky cars and airfix kits on our daughters, then somehow the skills shortage of the future would be solved.
But would it? If that was the case, and girls have been held back in this way because of playing with dolls, we wouldn’t be facing the reproduction crisis.
Today studies show that not only are educated women having children later in life, many are forgoing the experience altogether in preference of a career. It may not be in civil engineering, or industrial research, but anything it seems is preferable in their twenties to pushing a pram around in the rain.
Governments across the world are concerned about this, not to promote the sales of boys toys, but because population growth is slowing. We will soon be top heavy, with not enough young people to help out with ageing parents and grandparents.
But is the gender/toy debate also yet another sign of our generation’s overindulgence? We must not forget that in some parts of the world, toys for children are either still a luxury item or, for religious reasons, banned completely. Maybe we should not take for granted the facility to allow our children to express their innocence in the safety of their homes; whether that be with Barbie dolls or Lego blocks.