Outrage as Birmingham play centre bans dads -
From the Birmingham Mail
A BIRMINGHAM children’s centre has been plunged into a sexism row after openly telling dads: “You’re banned.” Kids Go Wild recently opened in Sparkhill and boasts it is the first soft play venue in the country for just mums and their kids.
Staff have told dads they are not allowed in for ‘‘cultural’’ reasons – but the Equality and Human Rights Commission is now looking into the ban.
Kids Go Wild advertises itself as “the UK’s first ladies and children’s only soft play centre.” Staff openly tell men they are not allowed in and a flyer posted to homes in the city reads: “Ladies and children only. No boys over nine allowed.”
They claim the ban is for “cultural” reasons and in the interests of the “predominantly Asian” local community.
When the Birmingham Mail rang the play centre a woman who claimed to be the manageress, but who refused to give her name, defended the policy.
She said: “It’s a predominantly Asian community around here and we’re catering for that. It’s a cultural thing. It’s not that men are an issue – ladies are more comfortable around women. We’ve had ladies coming in and they’ve not questioned it [ban on men]. They’ve been asking for it for a long time.”
The centre is in Birmingham’s Springfield ward which ... at the time of the 2001 Census...was also home to 13,461 Muslims – the largest single religious group at 46.5 per cent of the ward’s population.
. . . opinions on the ban among Birmingham’s Asian Muslim parents was mixed. Dad-of-three Tariq Mahmood, from Hall Green, said: “In the Muslim community men and women being separate is normal at religious events and social functions. But a play centre isn’t a religious or function thing. It’s somewhere for children to play. A ban on men gives off the wrong impression about men. Fathers should be able to play a part in looking after their children if and whenever they can.”
Ruksana Ayub, from Tyseley, said: “I understand why women would want a place like this where there are no men. They won’t feel they have to cover up so they might feel more able to relax and to socialise."
Dad-of-two Mohammed Shakiel, from Aston, said it “would have been wiser” for the play centre to have offered areas for men and women. But he added: “They may not have had the resources and Muslim women need to have somewhere they can go with their children.” There are plenty of places they can go; the same places we all go.
Posted on 08/07/2012 4:29 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
7 Aug 2012
Muslims may be 'the largest single religious group at 46.5 percent' of the Springfield ward in Birmingham.
But that means that Non-Muslims (of whatever background) comprise 63.5 percent of the population of the ward: which is a clear majority. Time for non-Muslims to use their collective clout while they are still a clear majority...
7 Aug 2012
Apartheid creeping into our cities
8 Aug 2012
To be honest, although it comes frieghted with all sorts of connotations, when my two were little 'uns and I used to take them to such places, I did find Dads annoying. You just can't really relax around men, and I say that as a militant atheist and feminist. I suppose the worse thing is disallowing boys over the age of 9, although older boys can be a pain. However, if they are never allowed to play with girls, they will not learn how to relate to them and how to behave.