Lego vows to take away gender bias from its toys

Danish toymaking big Lego on Monday pledged to take away gender bias from its toys after analysis discovered women have been being held again by gender stereotypes

The corporate, whose colourful constructing blocks and collectible figurines promote in additional than 130 international locations, stated it desires to make its merchandise extra inclusive in order that youngsters’s ambitions should not restricted by gender. 

“The corporate will guarantee any baby, no matter gender id, feels they will construct something they like,” Lego stated in a press release. 

Lego vowed to make its merchandise “freed from gender bias and dangerous stereotypes,” saying there’s a want for wider society to “rebuild perceptions.” 

Lego didn’t elaborate on what precisely it might modify about its merchandise to result in these modifications. Nevertheless, in an emailed assertion to NBC Information, the corporate stated it has transitioned its product and advertising and marketing division from gender-focused product teams to teams specializing in “passions and pursuits.” The corporate additionally stated it has not too long ago printed a range and inclusivity playbook for its product design and advertising and marketing groups. 

“The advantages of inventive play similar to constructing confidence, creativity and communication abilities are felt by all youngsters and but we nonetheless expertise age-old stereotypes that label actions as solely being appropriate for one particular gender,” Julia Goldin, chief product and advertising and marketing officer, stated in an organization assertion.

Lego’s promise got here as the corporate launched new analysis displaying that women have been extra open to have interaction in several types of play than boys, however societal norms about play, together with attitudes of their mother and father, restricted their potential. 

The analysis concerned almost 7,000 mother and father and kids in seven international locations, Lego stated.

Some praised Lego’s determination, saying different firms would really feel compelled to comply with its lead.

“If producers and shops alike cease counting on gender stereotyping of their appeals to youngsters, we may start to see extra noticeable modifications to the kids’s market,” Rebecca Hains, professor of media and communication at Salem State College and kids’s media tradition knowledgeable, stated in a Fb publish, commenting on the announcement.

“They’re such a power within the trade that maybe the place Lego goes, others will comply with,” she stated.

The UK-based Let Toys Be Toys marketing campaign, which challenges gender stereotypes in toy advertising and marketing, additionally welcomed the information on Twitter, saying the damaging results of gender stereotyping on youngsters is one thing they’ve been elevating with Lego since 2012. It additionally famous purple and blue branding of some Lego units, catering to girls and boys in another way.

“The concept that women and boys play or ought to play with totally different toys is dangerous — it reinforces dangerous stereotypes,” stated Pragya Agarwal, behavioral scientist and visiting professor of inequities and social justice at England’s Loughborough College.

A toddler performs throughout a go to to Legoland on the American Dream Leisure Mall, in Rutherford, N.J.Anthony Behar / Sipa USA through AP file

On Saturday, California turned the primary state to say giant department shops should show merchandise like toys in gender-neutral methods.

Lego’s announcement got here on the U.N. Worldwide Day of the Woman Baby, which focuses world consideration on the challenges women face worldwide and promotes the empowerment of ladies. 

The United Nations says that whereas some progress has been made in recent times, ladies and women nonetheless carry the burden of gender inequality, with discriminatory legal guidelines and social norms remaining pervasive, and ladies persevering with to be underrepresented in any respect ranges of political management. Its 2020 report discovered that lower than 50 p.c of working-age ladies are within the labor market, and unpaid home and care work falls disproportionately on ladies, restraining their financial potential.

A 2020 report by The Fawcett Society, a U.Ok. gender equality group, discovered that dangerous gender stereotypes can considerably restrict youngsters’s potential, and the toys they play with could be a contributing issue. It discovered that 66 p.c of fogeys need to see firms voluntarily promote toys to girls and boys in the identical approach. 

Bianca Britton, Matteo Moschella , Mohammed Syed and Related Press contributed.

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