Advertisement

Give playgrounds girl-only slots to counter ‘toxic’ influences like Andrew Tate, SNP says

SNP says boys tend to be more boisterous and dominant
SNP says boys tend to be more boisterous and dominant - Johnny Greig

Schools have been urged to consider banning boys from playground equipment in a bid to tackle a rise in misogyny fueled by “toxic” online influencers like Andrew Tate.

In a new strategy designed to tackle “gender-based violence” in Scottish schools, headteachers were told to ensure that girls have equal access to opportunities and suggested bringing in bespoke “time slots for girls to use equipment or spaces”.

The idea is designed to address fears that more boisterous boys dominate school playgrounds leaving girls “marginalised” and to “fit around the edges”, limiting their chances to participate in sport.

The 66-page plan also said that schools should reconsider uniform policies to ensure they do not “reinforce gender stereotypes” and includes a suggestion that boys should be encouraged to play more netball.

It follows evidence that sexism is becoming more prevalent in classrooms, potentially due to the popularity of online influencers such as Tate, the former kickboxer and self-proclaimed misogynist who had built millions of social media followers.

Jenny Gilruth, the Scottish education secretary, said: “We know that the prevalence of some dangerously misogynistic social media personalities is having a toxic influence on some boys, with a growth in disrespect towards female teachers and classmates alike.

“It is vital that we counter this discrimination and act to stamp out toxic masculinity in favour of positive masculinity.”

The guidance calls for staff to create “gender-equal learning environments” and to “challenge negative attitudes and behaviour” in relation to gender-based violence. The term can include bullying, insults and comments as well as physical acts.

Access to sports

The document states: “Schools should consider how to ensure that both boys and girls have equal access to sports, for example protecting time slots for girls to use equipment or spaces.”

Schools have also been told that sexist comments should not be “minimised as banter” or “boys being boys”. It warns that this can “form part of a culture which normalises gender-based violence and allows it to thrive.”

An official survey last year highlighted an increase in misogynistic views as an emerging concern in the classroom.

A YouGov poll last year found that almost a quarter of UK 13 to 15-year-old boys had a positive view of Tate, who is facing race and human trafficking charges in Romania.

The social media influencer has described women as “intrinsically lazy” and has claimed “there’s no way you can be rooted in reality and not be sexist”.

Humza Yousaf, the First Minister, said: “We want schools to create cultures in which all members of the school community know that gender-based violence is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

“Prevention and early intervention are key to the approach to address the underlying causes of gender-based violence, particularly gender inequality.”