- Research reveals harmful stereotypes are still hindering girls, boys and their parents
- 71% of boys surveyed feared they would be made fun of if they played with 'girl's toys'
- Lego has committed itself to removing gender stereotypes from its products
Lego has announced it will work to remove gender stereotypes from its toys after a global survey found that harmful stereotypes are still hindering girls, boys and their parents.
While the researchers found that girls were becoming more confident and keen to engage in a wide range of activities, the same was not true of boys.
Seventy-one per cent of boys surveyed feared they would be made fun of if they played with what they described as "girls' toys", as parents encouraged sons to do sports, while girls are offered dance, dress-up, dolls and baking.
"Parents are more worried that their sons will be teased than their daughters for playing with toys associated with the other gender," said Madeline Di Nonno, the chief executive of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, who conducted the research.
ALSO READ | Do boys and girls learn differently? The debate continues
Designed to appeal to both boys and girls
The study emphasised that gender biases are still ingrained and highlighted the increasingly evident double standard regarding gender inclusivity.
"We encourage girls to play with 'boys' stuff, but not the other way around," says Prof Gina Rippon, a neurobiologist and author of The Gendered Brain.
However, Lego, a Danish Toy Production Company that has traditionally appealed more to boys, is working to make their brand more inclusive and to allow both genders to develop their spatial skills and creative reasoning.
"Traditionally, Lego has been accessed by more boys, but products like [arts and crafts line] Lego Dots or Lego City Wildlife Rescue Camp have been specifically designed to appeal to boys and girls," says Goldin. "We're testing everything on boys and girls, and including more female role models."
"Our job now is to encourage boys and girls who want to play with sets that may have traditionally been seen as 'not for them'," adds Goldin.
Share your stories and questions with us via email at email@example.com. Anonymous contributions are welcome.
Don't miss a story!
For a weekly wrap of our latest parenting news and advice sign up to our free Friday Parent24 newsletter.