Lego vows to remove gender stereotypes from its toys after alarming global study

Toy giant Lego has vowed to remove gender stereotypes from its toys amid fears it is restricting young girls and boys.

Lego has vowed to remove gender stereotypes from its toys after a global study found that 71 per cent of boys feared being made fun of for playing with toys marketed at girls.

The Danish toy giant said its products were mainly used by boys but it pledged to work to remove gender bias from its products and instead market them at both genders.

A study by Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, commissioned by Lego, included a survey of thousands of children aged between six and 14 from several different countries.

It found parents were more likely to encourage their sons to take part in STEM activities while daughters were often motivated to dance, play dress ups or bake.

Experts were also concerned about how gender bias had made its way into the toy market and that girls were encouraged to play with toys marketed at boys, but boys were not.

This meant boys were missing out on key skills such as nurturing. Boys were also less confident to engage in a wider range of activities, the study found.

It also found that girls feel less restrained by and are less supportive of typical gender biases than boys when it comes to creative play.

For instance, 74 per cent of boys, compared to 62 per cent of girls, believe some activities are just meant for girls, while others are meant for boys.

And 82 per cent of girls believed it was okay for girls to play football and boys to practice ballet, compared to only 71 per cent of boys.

Parents were asked to complete an implicit bias assessment and 76 per cent said they would encourage their sons to play with Lego but just 24 per cent would encourage their daughters to do the same.

Parents were also far more likely to think of men as engineers (89 per cent) compared to women (11 per cent).

Lego said it considered itself an inclusive toy brand but was still more relevant to boys than girls.

The company no longer labels its products as “for girls” or “for boys” on its website. Consumers can instead search by interests.

“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,” chief marketing officer at Lego, Julia Goldin, said.

Lego said it was committed to making its toys more inclusive and ensuring children were not limited by gender stereotypes.

“We know we have a role to play in putting this right, and this campaign is one of several initiatives we are putting in place to raise awareness of the issue and ensure we make Lego play as inclusive as possible,” Goldin said.

“All children should be able to reach their true creative potential.”

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