In an effort to support gender neutrality, Sweden recently added a gender-neutral pronoun, "hen," [as opposed to han and hon] to the country's National Encyclopedia. Slate reports that several preschools in Sweden have stopped making references to the gender of their students. Instead of calling children "boys and girls," teachers are referring to students as "buddies." One school even stopped allowing free playtime during the day because "stereotypical gender patterns are born and cemented. In free play there is hierarchy, exclusion, and the seed to bullying."
I definitely think that is going too far. Children need to understand that there are differences between boys and girls; I think it would be rather confusing not to understand. Seems to me the very idea of taking away gender identities is teaching children that there's something wrong with being identified as a boy or a girl; ie: there is inequality in the very existence of being one or the other. And not allowing free play? Are these kids going to grow up 'pre-programmed?'
Understandably, some Swedes think the idea of "gender equality" has gone too far -
what has sharpened the debate in Sweden has been the argument that schools should also be gender neutral, giving children the opportunity to define themselves as neither male nor female if they wish.
As gender-neutral policies are promoted more broadly in Sweden's schools – including the use of a neutral pronoun to refer to boys and girls – some Swedes are pushing back.
The government has spent millions of dollars promoting gender equality in the schools, and while that would be a good thing, I think there's a huge difference between "gender equality" and "gender neutrality." Apparently a lot of Swedes think so, too -
it sparked a national furor, revealing that while most Swedes support gender equality, not all are on board with the idea of gender-neutral child-rearing.
I honestly cannot understand how anyone could be ok with with gender-neutral child rearing and wonder why good ideas so often have to be taken to the extreme by some 'enlightened thinkers.'