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Sexism in the Playground. Why making space for girls matters

Some experts say the design of many playgrounds is sexist, as much more space is devoted to boys, who tend to play sports more than girls, at the expense of space for children who may prefer climbing, socialising and imaginative play.

Doctor Fatemeh Aminpour, a research associate at the City Futures Research Centre, in Sydney, completed her doctorate in schoolground design and says older playgrounds tend to be more sexist.

“They are mostly dominated by traditional sports courts for basketball and handball and soccer, which are mainly boys’ popular ways to socialise and play.”

Aminpour says boys often end up dominating these areas and girls are left to play in the “leftover spaces” between buildings and possibly out-of-bounds areas beyond the main playground. She has found that girls competing in running races and practising gymnastics on grassed areas quickly retreat to the edges once boys start playing soccer.