Lego to remove gender bias from its toys after child survey findings

·2-min read
Research found that boys fear being made fun of for using toys aimed at girls (PA)
Research found that boys fear being made fun of for using toys aimed at girls (PA)

Lego will remove gender stereotypes from its toys, the Danish company has announced.

A global survey commissioned by Lego found that attitudes towards play and future careers remains unequal among children.

The findings suggest that seven in ten boys still fear being made fun of for playing with toys aimed at girls, a concern shared by their parents.

While girls are happy to engage in a wide range of activities.

The research was run by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, set up by Oscar-winning US actor turned activist Geena Davis.

Chief executive Madeline Di Nonno told the Guardian: “Parents are more worried that their sons will be teased than their daughters for playing with toys associated with the other gender.

“But it’s also that behaviours associated with men are valued more highly in society.”

The CEO explained that parents and children will be tentative to embrace behaviours and activities typically associated with women until societies recognise their equal value and importance.

Lego launched a rainbow-themed LGBTQ+ set in May (AFP via Getty Images)
Lego launched a rainbow-themed LGBTQ+ set in May (AFP via Getty Images)

Lego, the world’s largest toymaker, said its products are mainly used by young boys but that it will now work to strip gender bias from its toys and focus on both genders.

Bosses praised the Lego Dots range and Lego City Wildlife Rescue as the way forward and said the company is working hard to be more inclusive.

The research included a survey of almost 7,000 parents and children aged six to 14 from China, Czech Republic, Japan, Poland, Russia, the UK and US.

It found that parents still encouraged sons to do sports or science, technology, engineering, and maths.

While daughters were five times more likely to be encouraged in dancing and dressing up and three times more likely to be encouraged in baking.

Experts said the results show just how ingrained gender biases are worldwide and that we encourage girls to play with ‘boys’ stuff’ but not the other way around.

Lego figures wearing face masks (PA)
Lego figures wearing face masks (PA)

They suggested this means that girls are developing more rounded abilities but boys are missing out on skills such as nurturing as a result.

Chief product and marketing officer at the Lego Group Julia Goldin said the firm no longer labelled any of its products ‘for boys’ or ‘for girls.’

She told the Guardian: “Traditionally, Lego has been accessed by more boys.

“But products like Lego Dots or Lego City Wildlife Rescue Camp have been specifically designed to appeal to boys and girls.”

She added that Lego was now aiming to encourage boys and girls who want to play with sets that previously might have been seen as “not for them.”

Lego launched a rainbow-themed LGBTQ+ set with no gender assigned to all but one of the figures to coincide with Pride Month in May.

Designer Matthew Ashton said the ‘Everyone Is Awesome’ collection “celebrates everyone, no matter how they identify or who they love.”

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