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Saturday 9 February 2019


Last night’s ThinkIn did the two things a ThinkIn should: it opened up leads to follow in our reporting and it offered ideas to shape our thinking

– There were two surprising statistics about greater gender equality in Nordic countries: one was higher rates of intimate partner violence; the other was new research showing men and women choosing to assert more gender specific roles. Both are worth looking into.

– The different views and feelings across generations of gay men over gender fluidity touches on the personal and the political over the past half century. This is a potentially fascinating area to explore.

– The practical question of who plays what sports in which teams cuts to the chase: no boys and girls teams or sports at primary school? Ditto, secondary? And what about professional? Let’s look at each, in turn, in practice.

Often, ThinkIns bounce off the question, but don’t answer it. Last night, we did. Practically no one in a room of 100 or so people came out in favour of a gender-free world. This is because gender-free seems to ignore gender identity, much in the way that the old “melting pot” argument on race seemed to be “colour blind” to ethnic identities. Rather than embrace different identities, it threatens to overlook them.

Instead, we talked about moving to a gender plural world – once a range of identities are recognised and welcomed. There are 70 or so on Facebook; society will gradually narrow around fewer than that. This, of course, leaves three big questions hanging. Which ones? What’s the language we use? And how does that then feed through into family and society, business and the law? This is not the finished article. But the beginnings of a conversation about one of the seismic debates of our times.

Next week’s ThinkIn

Monday 11 February 2019 | 6:00pm – 7:15pm
16-19 Eastcastle Street, London, W1W 8DY

Tortoise and Fora ThinkIn

The News: Open editorial discussion

Is it time for a new political party in Britain? Tell us how you’d run things.

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