Next January, most CM2 primary schools in France will introduce "a programme to combat sexist stereotyping from primary schools upwards known as the ‘ABCD de l’égalité’ or "ABCD of equality". Introduced by the government and spurred on by the Women’s Rights Minister, "the ABCD of equality" will be tested in ten academies (1), i.e. 600 classes overall, with the experiment being generalised in the spring of 2014.
Justifying this programme, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, Women’s Rights Minister, explains that, "although schools are supposed to be neutral in their treatment of girls and boys, studies show that this is not the case despite teachers’ good intentions". But the launch of this kind of programme is causing unrest. Jean-Marie Andrès, a manager at the Associations familiales catholiques (AFC) (Catholic Family Associations) fears that this will promote "‘the disappearance of’ benchmarks, and especially those set by parents". He believes that " ‘it is easy to blame stereotyping and that caution must be exercised with this type of initiative".