Fury at Harry and Meghan's charity partner Global Boyhood Initiative

‘Schools should not be lying to children about gender’: Campaigners’ fury at Harry and Meghan’s charity partner which says boyhood should be ‘fluid’ and teaches primary school pupils to question ‘gender norms’

  • Global Boyhood Initiative has run workshops with staff in Balham and Mitcham
  • Archewell has partnered with the initiative which wants boyhood to be ‘fluid’

Two London schools have piloted a curriculum about ‘challenging limiting gender stereotypes’ run by a charity backed by Prince Harry and Meghan, it emerged today.

The Global Boyhood Initiative, which wants boyhood to be ‘fluid’, has run workshops with staff at Ravenstone School in Balham and Sherwood Primary School, Mitcham.

The organisation ‘promotes gender equity by fostering positive masculinity in boys and men’ and has warned that the phrase ‘boys will be boys’ is dangerous.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s organisation Archewell has partnered with the US-based initiative which also accuses parents of ‘gendering’ unborn children.

But its aims have proven controversial, with one Conservative MP warning that the group was trying to ‘re-educate small children for reasons of political activism’.

And a family campaign group has slammed the initiative, telling MailOnline: ‘Schools should not be lying to children about gender ‘not being tied to sex organs’.’

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are partnering with the US-based Global Boyhood Initiative

A Global Boyhood Initiative workshop at Sherwood Primary School in Mitcham last July

Another Global Boyhood Initiative workshop last July, held at Ravenstone School in Balham

The initiative was founded in 2020 by US gender equality group Equimundo and a French anti-women’s violence organisation called the Kering Foundation. 

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It was then piloted at the two UK schools in July last year by a London-based educational group called Lifting Limits which aims to ‘challenge gender stereotypes’. The schools were initially not identified, but the organisation then revealed their locations in tweets.

The initiative states that its curriculum for seven to 11-year-olds is about ‘about gender equality, developing healthy masculine identities and challenging limiting gender stereotypes’.

Following the pilot, the group said it ‘hopes to widen and deepen its work on boyhood across the UK – including promoting the uptake and development of the curriculum nationally’.

A report called ‘The State of UK Boys’ was written by the group last November, which claimed that families can be gender ‘factories’ by ‘enacting gender roles and identities’.

It said: ‘Parents may begin gendering their children even before birth based on the identification of external genitalia in scans, including through elaborate ‘gender reveal’ parties and a stream of purchases along gender lines.

‘While the family is a place of nurturing and support for many children, it can also be where gender and sexuality are regulated and policed.’

But Miriam Cates, the Conservative MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, told The Sunday Telegraph: ‘Attempting to ‘re-educate’ small children for reasons of political activism is indoctrination and an abuse of the trust that children place in teachers and parents place in schools.

A report called ‘The State of UK Boys’ was written by the Global Boyhood Initiative last year, which claimed that families can be gender ‘factories’ by ‘enacting gender roles and identities’

‘It is also concerning that the Global Boyhood Initiative says they have widened their net to include ‘children of all genders’, which suggests they hold to an extreme position on gender ideology.’

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The group has said the curriculum aims to help children learn about ‘the role gender norms play in their lives through activity-based questioning and critical reflection’.

They are also helped to ‘explore equitable, inclusive and nonviolent attitudes and behaviours in a safe and comfortable space’ and ‘internalise these new gender attitudes and norms by applying them in their relationships and lives’. 

However a spokesman for the Family Education Trust, which researches family breakdown, told MailOnline that the initiative was trying ‘undermine parents’.

She said: ‘The suggestion by the Global Boyhood Initiative that families may be ‘regulating and policing’ gender and sexuality is an attempt to undermine parents and the family unit.

‘Parents are best placed to teach their children about relationships and sex, and schools should not be lying to children about gender ‘not being tied to sex organs’.

‘Gender ideology has no place in schools as there is simply no evidence to support it. 

‘While boys and girls must of course be treated equally, the reality is that there are biological differences between males and females and it is unwise to pretend otherwise.

Conservative MP Miriam Cates issued a warning over attempt to ‘re-educate’ small children for reasons of political activism, saying this is ‘indoctrination and an abuse of the trust’

‘A better approach for schools would be to ensure that boys have appropriate male role models who embody positive masculinity and can teach boys how to be respectful to women and girls.’

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There is also a partnership between Harry and Meghan’s podcast Archetypes and the initiative, which includes guides on teaching boys about healthy masculinity. But the Sussexes are not thought to be partnering with the curriculum programme itself.

An announcement on the Archewell website last November said: ‘Inspired by Archetypes, the Archewell Foundation has partnered with Equimundo’s (fka Promundo) Global Boyhood Initiative on a guide for promoting gender equity by fostering positive masculinity in boys and men. 

‘Equimundo’s trainings, tools and resources are actively promoting healthy and equitable masculinities starting at an early age. 

‘Equimundo works to achieve gender equality and social justice by transforming intergenerational patterns of harm and promoting patterns of care, empathy and accountability among boys and men throughout their lives.’

Last week Maggie Blyth, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for violence against women and girls, said primary schools should teach boys about the boundaries of acceptable behaviour as part of a ‘whole society’ approach to tackling misogyny.

Ms Blyth, who was appointed in 2021 to tackle what Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary called the ‘epidemic’ of violence against women, also said children should learn in school about the danger of toxic masculinity and toxic influencers such as Andrew Tate.


A post shared by Global Boyhood Initiative (@boyhoodinitiative)

The US-based Global Boyhood Initiative is advertising this webinar next month 

Her comments come as women’s trust in the police has been severly damaged by a series of scandals including the case of Wayne Couzens, who abducted, raped and murdered Sarah Everard in March 2021.

In January, David Carrick, who joined the Met in 2001 before becoming an armed officer with the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command in 2009, was sentenced to life imprisonment and ordered to serve a minimum of 30 years behind bars after admitting to 49 charges, including 24 counts of rape.

She said that despite measures being put in place to tackle misogyny and violence against women within the country’s police forces, the problem is ‘much bigger than policing’ and needed a whole-society approach because forces alone cannot put an end to misogyny and violence. 

She added: ‘The bigger debate for society is around prevention. And how do we stop men and boys developing a [harmful] type of behaviour or attitude?’

Archewell, Lifting Limits, Ravenstone School, Sherwood Primary School and the Global Boyhood Initiative have all been approached for comment by MailOnline.

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