A Birmingham play center Kids Go Wild is currently under investigation by the The Equality and Human Right Commission. They are checking the legality of its policy which allows only “ladies and children” to enter the premises and excludes males over nine years old. The center promotes itself as ” the UK’s first ladies and children’s only soft play center”, however this approach provoked some public controversy.
The Equality and Human Right Commission is the UK`s body for investigating equality cases. Now they are looking at the “Kids Go Wild’s” case – “the Equality Act does allow for services to be just for women or men only, but this is the exception not the norm and must pass a strict test to be justifiable”.
In order to prevent any penalties, the play center is required to provide a reasonable and objective explanation for banning males above the age of nine.
Kids Go Wild`s manager made a statement, where she claims the main reason for promoting the center as a “men-free” area was just for cultural reasons, as the visitors are mainly from the Asian community, where women feel more comfortable around women. It did not mean that men are an issue.
The manager also said that many of the mothers who bring their children to the play center actually asked for such a policy. Now outside the premises of the play center one can read a sign saying: ‘Ladies and children only. No boys over nine allowed.”
Local councilor Mohammed Fazal expressed his surprise and concerns, as he thought that fathers should also be allowed to bring their children to the play center. Both parents should be welcomed equally.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission advises organisations of any kind to seek a professional legal advice before implementing controversial policies, in this way they can be sure they will not be in trouble of breaching Equality laws.