Women’s Week: Ipswich father explains why the future is limitless for his daughter

Elliot Furniss with his daughter Adelaide. Picture: ELLIOT FURNISS

Elliot Furniss with his daughter Adelaide. Picture: ELLIOT FURNISS - Credit: Archant

After nine months of, for no particular reason, referring to our unborn first child as “he” (“how’s he doing in there?” etc), it came to me to make the big reveal to my wife in the moments immediately after the birth, writes Elliot Furniss, from Ipswich.

Adelaide Furniss, dressed as a builder and playing with a pram. Picture: ELLIOT FURNISS

Adelaide Furniss, dressed as a builder and playing with a pram. Picture: ELLIOT FURNISS - Credit: ELLIOT FURNISS

“It’s a girl – is that OK?” I asked.

In my defence, I was in a daze and not quite thinking straight but thankfully, despite all she’d been through, my wife was. “Of course it is,” she replied.

And she was right. Girls are brilliant in every way and, luckily for our Adelaide, there’s never been a better time to be one.

While some people are going to what many would say is extreme lengths and raising their children as “gender neutral”, more common is an approach to parenting that aims at ensuring our offspring do not face any limitations on life that previous generations may have encountered, that they have as broad horizons as possible and in the days of #MeToo, Time’s Up and gender pay equality debates, a genuinely level playing field, with nothing ruled out.

Adelaide Furniss. Picture: ELLIOT FURNISS

Adelaide Furniss. Picture: ELLIOT FURNISS - Credit: ELLIOT FURNISS


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I don’t want my daughter to think there are any jobs she can’t do, any sports she can’t enjoy, any clothes she can’t wear or any games she can’t play just because she’s a girl.

Adelaide has more Star Wars t-shirts in her multi-coloured wardrobe than I do, has a blue scooter and a pedal-powered police motorcycle. She loves Paw Patrol, dinosaurs and using her ‘fix-it’ tool kit. She goes trampolining every week and often rampages through a soft play centre without any trepidation.

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But she also adores the miniature kitchen and shop she got for Christmas, all stocked with wooden food, a till and an espresso machine. She has plenty of dresses to choose from and has several dolls to “look after” and push around in her pram and enjoys her dance classes at DanceEast.

Our general approach is that “toys are toys” and while certain products are geared to certain sexes, we take no notice. My wife has been on the receiving end of remarks such as “they are boys pyjamas” or “you’ve chosen these from the boys’ section” – so there’s clearly still some way to go!

Elliot Furniss with his daughter Adelaide. Picture: ELLIOT FURNISS

Elliot Furniss with his daughter Adelaide. Picture: ELLIOT FURNISS - Credit: ELLIOT FURNISS

Girls can play with what they want, do what they want and when they get older they can be whatever they want. I don’t think it’s always been that way, but for my daughter’s generation the possibilities are endless and I can’t wait to see what she becomes.

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