Gender stereotypes are alive and well according to Lego survey

Lego is going gender-neutral
Lego is a great toy for ALL kids
Lego wants to say goodbye to stereotypes
A survey done in seven different countries
Do parents and kids see creativity as gendered?
Parents unknowingly define creativity differently for boys and girls
Parents are more prone to encourage girls to do baking and dance....
And to encourage boys to do sports...
The study found girls WANT more creative play options
Girls tend to be more open minded about which activities boys and girls can do
Girls aren't given many opportunities to tinker and fix
Boys fear being made fun of for playing with
Parents worry if their son enjoys toys associated with girls...
but are unconcerned if their daughter likes
Boys are under more pressure to conform
Gender stereotypes affect all children
The toys children play with can affect their career path
Parents have stereotypes deeply ingrained in them
Society is holding girls back
Girls miss out by not playing with building toys
Building toys provide skills needed for a variety of careers
Lego used to be very gender neutral
Lego gave into gender stereotypes...
Toys are just the beginning...
Just one step in eliminating harmful stereotypes
Prevention is key
Lego is going gender-neutral

Lego recently announced that it would begin work to remove gender stereotypes from its brand.

 

Lego is a great toy for ALL kids

In other words, the Danish company is heading back to its roots and will no longer market playsets specifically to boys or girls and will work to make sure all of the toys it produces are gender-neutral.

Lego wants to say goodbye to stereotypes

Lego released a statement on October 11, 2021, regarding its decision:
"The benefits of creative play such as building confidence, creativity and communication skills are felt by all children and yet we still experience age-old stereotypes that label activities as only being suitable for one specific gender," said Julia Goldin, Lego's chief marketing officer. Goldin then added, "At the LEGO Group we know we have a role to play in putting this right."

A survey done in seven different countries

The Danish Lego company is one of the most powerful toy companies in the world. According to NPR, after conducting research surveys with nearly 7000 children and their parents throughout seven different countries: the United States, China, Japan, Poland, Russia, the Czech Republic, and the United Kingdom, the company made the decision to remove gender stereotypes.

Photo: Unsplash by Neobrand

Do parents and kids see creativity as gendered?

The survey's findings conducted by Lego in collaboration with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media (which is a research organization that advocates for equal representation of women) aimed to discover if parents and kids see creativity as gendered. 

Photo: Unsplash by Amelie Mourichon

Parents unknowingly define creativity differently for boys and girls

To do so, Lego first had parents complete half of the survey, and then their children, between the ages of 6 and 14, completed the rest. The aim, according to Lego, was to test "for implicit bias in how parents define creativity differently for their sons and their daughters."

Photo: Pixabay

"it's okay to teach boys to be boys and girls to be girls"

The results of Lego's study are pretty shocking, considering we are in the year 2021. According to the news media site TheConversation.com, the study found that 78% of boys and 73% of girls in the seven countries surveyed agreed with the statement: “it’s okay to teach boys to be boys and girls to be girls.”

Parents are more prone to encourage girls to do baking and dance....

It seems that parents are most likely at fault for passing on such traditional ways of thinking. According to NPR, the Lego study also found that parents are nearly "five times as likely to encourage girls (over boys) to engage in activities like dance and dressing up and are more than three times as likely to do the same for cooking and baking."

And to encourage boys to do sports...

The Lego study also found that parents are four times more likely to "encourage boys to engage in sports and more than twice as likely to do the same with coding toys."

Photo: Unsplash by Nicole Green

The study found girls WANT more creative play options

In addition, the data collected by the study reveals that girls want to try more variety of creative play options than society and their parents typically encourage.

Girls tend to be more open minded about which activities boys and girls can do

The study found that 82% of girls think it is okay for boys to do ballet and for girls to play football (the survey referred to American football in the USA and soccer elsewhere). Boys, however, are slightly more resistant, with only 71% of boys agreeing with the statement above.

Girls aren't given many opportunities to tinker and fix

Girls often aren't presented with sufficient opportunities in play to tinker and fix things, which affects their chances of taking an interest in STEAM (science, technology, engineering and maths).

 

Boys fear being made fun of for playing with "girl" toys

However, boys also suffer due to gender stereotyping. The Lego study found that 71% of male children feared being judged or made fun of for playing with toys gendered for girls.

Parents worry if their son enjoys toys associated with girls...

This was also a significant concern for many parents, with 54% of parents worrying their sons would be bullied for playing with toys associated with girls.

but are unconcerned if their daughter likes "boy" toys

Unsurprisingly, only 26% of the parents surveyed worried about their daughters playing with toys associated with boys.

Boys are under more pressure to conform

The results of the Lego study indicate that boys are under more pressure to conform to gender roles and norms in regards to creative activities compared to girls.

Photo: Pixabay

Gender stereotypes affect all children

However, the beliefs and perceptions of friends and family may be holding girls back. Undoubtedly, all children pay the price when toys are gendered.

The toys children play with can affect their career path

Researchers have been saying for years that gender stereotypes have a significant impact on the creative development of children and can even affect their future career paths.

Photo: 1942 Sears Christmas Catalogue

Parents have stereotypes deeply ingrained in them

NPR reported that according to the Geena Davis Institute, "Parents are six times as likely to think of scientists as men rather than women and are more than eight times as likely to think of engineers as men rather than women."

 

Society is holding girls back

In their statement released on October 11th Lego said: "New research commissioned by the LEGO Group reveals that girls today feel increasingly confident to engage in all types of play and creative activities, but remain held back by society's ingrained gender stereotypes as they grow older."

Photo: Pixabay

Girls miss out by not playing with building toys

According to an article published on TheConversation.com, other studies have indicated that by not having many opportunities to play with building toys, girls are missing out on much more. 

Building toys provide skills needed for a variety of careers

"Girls miss opportunities to develop spatial skills and mechanical reasoning skills necessary for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics: fields in which women continue to be under-represented."

Photo: Unsplash by Jackson Simmer

Lego used to be very gender neutral

Lego is undoubtedly taking a step in the right direction, although it is interesting that it even needs to do so. If Lego had kept true to its origins, it would have never gendered its toys, to begin with. In the 1980s, the ads for Lego were very gender-neutral.

 

Lego gave into gender stereotypes...

However, eventually, the Danish company gave in to the mainstream toy trend that began in the 1970s. According to TheConversation.com, toys became "increasingly and rigidly demarcated along binary gender lines."

Photo: Lego.com

Toys are just the beginning...

The fight against gender stereotypes runs much deeper than just toys. Children also receive input regarding gender roles from the books they read, the TV shows they watch, and of course, from those they see around them every day, their parents and educators.

Just one step in eliminating harmful stereotypes

Reducing the gendered nature of toys and how toys are marketed is just one step that must be taken to prevent potentially harmful gender stereotypes during childhood.

Prevention is key

Prevention is key because studies have shown that once stereotypes and attitudes regarding gender are entrenched in a child's mind, it is difficult to change.

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