To wonder why communal parks are so biased towards boys

(399 Posts)
arethereanyleftatall Tue 26-Oct-21 08:49:04

Looking around our parks, it occurred to me all the normal type equipment paid for by the council is geared towards a certain type of play.
You tend to see a slide/swing type area (great for everyone) plus football goals, skate parks, and basketball hoops.
Of course either sex could play on the last 3, and do, but in general, these 3 types of equipment are occupied by boys.
Or, let's take sex out of it - these 3 types of equipment are played with by energetic/sporty/rough and tumble type children.
Where's the community stuff for the children who prefer more gentle/imaginative role play/dance games.
Where's the netball courts, the fairy houses?
I'm actually not even sure what you would build to make it more even, but at our local park yesterday.... 8 approximately 10 year old boys playing football; about 10 teenage boys on the skate park;basketball hoop unused; swing area equal girls/boys.

OP’s posts: |
berlinbabylon Tue 26-Oct-21 08:51:58

Can't you use the basketball hoop for netball?

I've not thought about it OP but I guess as in all things, he who shouts loudest gets, and men and boys shout loudest.

Look at sports coverage in mainstream media too - you are very lucky if a female gets coverage and then normally only if she is easy on the eye.

ScamTheSchool Tue 26-Oct-21 08:54:01

Do you need equipment for dance games?
The climbing frame/poles/rope bridges/huts/spinning towers/slides are suitable for imaginative games, aren't they? DD has never had an issue finding something to play on. Although I agree that the girls don't tend to use the basketball and football areas at our closest playground.

LynetteScavo Tue 26-Oct-21 08:54:34

This has been raised in MN before, with no real answer.

The park I grew up opposite had a "blind garden" full of smelly herbs and a pretty statue on a hill with a winding path and bushes around it. It was a magical place to play when I was a little girl. Maybe something like that along side the skate park. The trouble is anything with nice plants takes maintenance. Once a skatepark has been built, job done.

User527294627 Tue 26-Oct-21 08:54:37

Your vision of a park sounds lovely. As you went on to say, it’s not necessarily a gendered thing - but most parks don’t have a lot of scope for encouraging imaginative or role play, mindful play, relaxation, etc.

Bingbong21 Tue 26-Oct-21 08:55:19

A play park is designed to be for active play..

We have fairy trails in local woods. We have parks with wooden playhouses or with little playhouses under the climbing equipment. There is a huge mix available.

Surely as a parent it isn't rocket science to pick a spot more suitable for your child?

Gender doesn't really come into it, it's a temperament one. My boy is far far far more calm play inclined than my girl and as their parent I just pick based on where has the things they enjoy.

arethereanyleftatall Tue 26-Oct-21 08:55:27

Thanks @berlinbabylon
You could use the basketball hoop for a netball hoop, but its just the single hoop. It occurred to me - I have never ever seen a full netball court marked out in a community park, and yet there's full football pitches everywhere.

OP’s posts: |

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AllThingsServeTheBeam Tue 26-Oct-21 08:57:36

Nice things gets trashed or not looked after by the council once in round here. Goal posts and basket ball hoops are easy to look after and hard to trash by some of the local teens.

arethereanyleftatall Tue 26-Oct-21 08:57:56

ScamTheSchool

Do you need equipment for dance games?
The climbing frame/poles/rope bridges/huts/spinning towers/slides are suitable for imaginative games, aren't they? DD has never had an issue finding something to play on. Although I agree that the girls don't tend to use the basketball and football areas at our closest playground.


They are, but if you look at the space allocated. Almost the whole grass area taken up by football, 90% of the park. Non negotiable, it's marked out. Children who want to dance can do so round the very edge. Just mind the ball.

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Branleuse Tue 26-Oct-21 08:58:16

We need to get more girls into sport and active play. Its not for boys.

MamsellMarie Tue 26-Oct-21 08:59:43

I think the basis of this is the old fashioned assumption that boys need to be kept out of trouble by expending their energy on harmless activities. Girls don't

SunShinesBrightly Tue 26-Oct-21 09:00:30

Interesting as I was never interested in the climbing frames, basketball, football nets but we were lucky enough to live by a big park with a running track, tennis courts, a huge putting green, swings etc. All of which I loved.
We live in a male dominated society. I’m sure there are plenty of girls who want to play football and use a skatepark but I wasn’t one of them and neither are my DDs.

Nearlytheretrees Tue 26-Oct-21 09:00:55

I may have the rules wrong but isn't netball hard to play with only a couple of people due to not moving when you have the ball? Where as basketball you can practice dribbling, one on one or shooting on your own or with a couple of friends

SantasLittleHoHoHo Tue 26-Oct-21 09:01:04

Parks are made for active play - surely walks / woodlands etc are for fairy gardens / imagination play?

Anything in a park can become part of a fairly garden if their imagination is good enough!

Also - maintenance, floral gardens are much harder to maintain than plain equipment and flooring. Gardens require a gardener, multiple visits to clean up / re seed / maintain. A play park is pretty much self maintaining unless broken which is far less frequent!

Cactus1982 Tue 26-Oct-21 09:01:10

A basketball hoop is higher than a netball hoop I think. I only know this because on the rare occasion I played netball I was always goal attack due to being tall, but struggle to reach a basketball hoop! Basketball players are always very tall aren’t they?

I think with regards to imaginative play and dance thought you don’t need any equipment do you?

LynetteScavo Tue 26-Oct-21 09:01:21

Because basket ball is a much better game than netball wink My DD would be horrified to find a netball court in a park grin

I think the real issue is than teens who are old enough to go out alone can get to the local park but not enchanted woodland areas. And the parks end up mostly used by boys - why aren't teen girls playing football and using the skate parks. That's the real question. Why are teen girls at home watching films while then boys are razing around on their BMX?

I have seen a few girls wandering around carrying board recently, which game me hope.

arethereanyleftatall Tue 26-Oct-21 09:02:21

Fairy trails/play huts would be marvellous. I'd like to see that as the norm. Every time you build a skate park, you also have to put some fairy doors on trees. Where I live, we had to drive at least an hour away to get to this marvellous woods with fairy doors etc. Whereas we have 4 parks in this town alone, each with a football pitch plus 2 really good skate parks.

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cheeseismydownfall Tue 26-Oct-21 09:03:02

You ate absolutely right OP. You might like to read more about the great work being done my another mumsnetter

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/4181054-Teenage-girls-and-public-space-facilities-an-update

SunShinesBrightly Tue 26-Oct-21 09:03:12

Ice skating was another thing we did a lot of!
It was brilliant fun.

JoanOgden Tue 26-Oct-21 09:03:49

Great campaigning organisation on this issue called Make Space for Girls - really opened my eyes.

makespaceforgirls.co.uk

girlmom21 Tue 26-Oct-21 09:04:04

I think this is a stretch OP. The reason those courts and pitches are taking up most of the space is because they're bigger by design. It's nothing to do with boys vs girls.

My friends and I always used to prefer to play basketball than go on the swings, for example. We were all girls.

You'll also find that the play areas themselves are mostly used by young children whereas the pitches and courts will be used by older children/teenagers who will go in bigger groups and need to be catered for.

Waitwhat23 Tue 26-Oct-21 09:04:41

You might be interested in this - makespaceforgirls.co.uk

It's an initiative which started on Mumsnet and looks at the research and public policy of playground/park design, taking into account the different needs of teenage boys and teenage girls.

Clymene Tue 26-Oct-21 09:05:13

MamsellMarie

I think the basis of this is the old fashioned assumption that boys need to be kept out of trouble by expending their energy on harmless activities. Girls don't


Exactly. I frequently hear parents of boys say that boys are like dogs who need lots of outdoor time. Never heard parents of girls say it.

And yes also, boys are the default sex so their needs are catered for more in pretty much everything.

MonsignorMirth Tue 26-Oct-21 09:05:28

cheeseismydownfall

You ate absolutely right OP. You might like to read more about the great work being done my another mumsnetter

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/4181054-Teenage-girls-and-public-space-facilities-an-update

Can't recommend enough that you look at the brilliant work this group is doing! OP it's a very valid question. Ill tag @makespaceforgirls

SunShinesBrightly Tue 26-Oct-21 09:05:52

The ‘Make space for girls’ website is great.
Thank you for the link to the thread cheese.

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