Dad Wonders If His Daughter Time Traveled At School When He Finds Out About Sexist Incident

"When Ruby left for school yesterday it was 2017, but when she returned home in the afternoon she was from 1968."

Sexism is unfortunately alive and well in our schools. We've seen it in outdated homework assignments that make gross assumptions about the careers of women and in textbooks that promote gender inequality. We've seen it in school assemblies that slut-shame and victim-blame girls. And we've definitely seen it in countless dress code stories which show girls are being punished for being "a distraction" to boys.

Some parents are fed up with this behavior in their children's schools and are speaking out. One such parent is dad Stephen Callaghan, who felt as though his daughter Ruby must've stepped out of a time machine when she came home from school the other day. 



Ruby is in Year 6 in Australia, a grade in which most children are between 11 and 12 years old. During her classes' end-of-year activities, the girls will attend the school library to get their hair and makeup done. The boys, on the other hand, will get to go on a field trip to Bunnings, a hardware store in Australia, and participate in a DIY workshop. 

Callaghan shared this news on Twitter yesterday. "Sigh. Will things ever change? My daughter wants to be an engineer. She doesn't give a rat's arse about make-up," he wrote. 

Of course, there's nothing wrong with girls enjoying hair and makeup. But the problem here is that students weren't given a choice. It was assumed that girls would want to focus on enhancing their appearance, while boys would get the opportunity to create something. Callaghan shared on Twitter that when his daughter asked her school if she could go to Bunnings, she was told it was "just for the boys." 

In response, Callaghan decided to take a snarky approach to teach the school a lesson and wrote an epic letter addressed to the principal about the incident. 

"When Ruby left for school yesterday it was 2017, but when she returned home in the afternoon she was from 1968," he wrote. "I know this to be the case as Ruby informed me that the 'girls' in Year 6 would be attending the school library to get their hair and make-up done on Monday afternoon while the 'boys' are going to Bunnings." 

"Are you able to search the school buildings for a rip in the space-time continuum? Perhaps there is a faulty Flux Capacitor hidden away in the girls toilet block?" the letter continued. "I look forward to this being rectified and my daughter and other girls at the school being returned to this millennium where school activities are not divided sharply along gender lines." 

Callaghan shared the letter on Twitter where it's been retweeted over 1,800 times and has more than 5,800 likes. Some people responded by sharing their own experiences with gender bias at school while others applauded him for writing the letter. 



Overall, the online response has been overwhelmingly positive which both Callaghan and Ruby have appreciated. 

"Ruby and I would like to thank you for the great comments of support. At 12 years of age my daughter is starting to notice there are plenty of people prepared to tell her what she can & can't do based solely on the fact she is female," Callaghan wrote on Twitter. "She would like this to change. So would I." 

We hope his letter helps to spark change in his daughter's school as well as in others. Reinforcing gender stereotypes only limits children. Instead, we should encourage them to expand their world view and try anything that interests them — without having to worry if it's the "right" thing to do for their gender. 

Cover image via Unsplash

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