Lionel Gougelot, edited by Manon Fossat 11:44 am, October 11, 2021

Several cities in France are addressing the issue of equality between girls and boys from an early age.

The municipality of Hem, near Roubaix, is notably setting up gender-neutral playgrounds to encourage discussions and fight against sexism in the public space. 


In some establishments, the football cages have been replaced by benches to encourage discussions between girls and boys.

These non-gendered playgrounds are indeed experienced in Trappes, Grenoble and in the municipality of Hem, near Roubaix, in the North of France. 

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A "calmer" climate

Development of islands of greenery in the playground of the Saint-Exupéry school. It was an opportunity for Mayor Francis Vercamer to redesign the play areas to leave more room for girls and promote diversity. "Our football field used to take 80% of the surface of the schoolyard. Now it will take a lot less," he explains. "Some boys complain but I think they have found other more mixed games, more suited to mixing in our schoolyards, such as the prisoner's ball," continues the city councilor.

A playground in which Anastasia, a CM1 student, now feels much more at ease.

"Before, the boys had two goals and now they only have one. You can run anywhere without getting shot," she says.


- One year later, what results for the charter of non-gendered toys?

Learning to mix in this working-class district is also a daily concern for director Roselyne Joly.

And it's true, these new developments create a more peaceful atmosphere.

"Let's say that since football takes up less space, the children take up a lot more space and that soothes them", she notes.

To promote exchanges, friendship benches have also been installed around the games.

Here too, we can discuss between girls and boys.