It all started with my son, Will, stamping his feet and saying he didn't want any girls invited to his sixth birthday party. Girls, he declared, are boring. At the same time I noticed my daughter, Vera, who is three, carrying a handbag and lip gloss. Will was demanding his first football kit, Vera was swooning over princess paraphernalia, and I suddenly realised that it was time for a gender stereotyping intervention.
Children know what they are supposed to like from an early age. For girls, it's princesses, ballet, fairies, parties. For boys, it's adventure, space travel, fire engines, pirates. Until now, my two have been young enough to do their own thing - Will has enjoyed baking cakes, Vera has pretended to be Luke Skywalker. But the older they get, the harder it is to resist the pink-and-blue divide.