Lego on Monday, 11 October, pledged to rid its toys of “gender bias and harmful stereotypes” after a global survey the company commissioned found attitudes to play and future careers remain unequal and restrictive, The Guardian reported.
The study surveyed nearly 7,000 parents and children aged 6-14 in the UK, US, China, Japan, Poland, Czech Republic and Russia. The world's largest toymaker commissioned the report for the UN International Day of the Girl on Monday.
That research showed that girls were more likely than boys to want to engage in a wide range of play and activities, with 71 percent of boys worried they’d be made fun of if they played with so-called “girls’ toys.”
“Parents are more worried that their sons will be teased than their daughters for playing with toys associated with the other gender,” Madeline Di Nonno, the chief executive of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, who conducted the research, was quoted as saying by The Guardian.
“But it’s also that behaviours associated with men are valued more highly in society,” Di Nonno said. “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.”
The research showed that parents still encourage daughters to take up dance, baking and dress-up, while boys are more likely to be pushed into sports and activities involving science, technology, engineering and math.
“These insights emphasise just how ingrained gender biases are across the globe,” said Geena Davis, the Oscar-winning actor and activist who set up the institute in 2004, told The Guardian.
The Danish toymaker no longer labelled its products as “for girls” or “for boys” and its website does not allow searches by gender. Instead, the website offers themes that it calls “passion points”, The Guardian noted.
“We’re testing everything on boys and girls, and including more female role models,” the company’s chief product and marketing officer, Julia Goldin was quoted as saying by the UK paper.
“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,’” Goldin added.
“We’re working hard to make Lego more inclusive,” Goldin said.
(With inputs from The Guardian.)