Lego to drop outdated ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ labels from toys to combat harmful gender biases
Toy giant Lego is to remove gender labels saying toys are for “boys” or “girls” after a global survey found attitudes to play and future careers remains unequal and restrictive.
Researchers found that 71 per cent of boys were afraid they’d be mocked for playing with “girls” toys, a fear shared by their parents, according to The Guardian.
The study found that traditional attitudes towards gender persist, such as parents encouraging their sons to do sport and science and their daughters to do dance, baking and dressing up.
Parents rated men as “more creative” than women and six times more likely than women to be scientists or athletes. Parents were also eight times as likely to think of engineers as being men.
The outcome of the research, the methodology of which meant the results are restricted to the gender binary, is that Lego has promised to make changes in an effort to tackle gender stereotyping.
“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.
“But it’s also that behaviours associated with men are valued more highly in society,” said Di Nonno. “Until societies recognise that behaviours and activities typically associated with women are as valuable or important, parents and children will be tentative to embrace them.”
“We’re working hard to make Lego more inclusive,” said Julia Goldin, the chief product and marketing officer at the Lego Group, the world’s largest toymaker.
Goldin added that Lego has stopped putting “boys” and “girls” labels on toys on its website.
“We’re testing everything on boys and girls, and including more female role models,” said Goldin. “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’.”
“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,” Goldin added.
Lego will now attempt to promote nurturing and caring as well as spatial awareness and problem solving across all its toys.