Australian toy stores to ditch blue and pink toys to be more ‘gender neutral’

Australian toy stores could drop ‘gender neutral’ toys to reduce the impact of ‘harmful and outdated stereotypes’ on young girls.

California has become the first US state to require retailers to display toys in a gender-neutral way with a “reasonable selection” of items.

Professor Laura Scholes of the Catholic University of Australia supports the move, saying sex toys and products deter young girls from pursuing science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers.

In a study led by the Associate Professor of the Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education, Professor Scholes asked hundreds of young children what they wanted to be when they grew up and why.

She explained: “The main finding was that the professions children aspire to haven’t really changed over the last 20 years – boys still want to be professional sports people, STEM-related jobs, police or the military. . Girls still want to be teachers, work with animals, the arts.

It is children’s toys that reinforce these pathways because they are marketed to different genders.

“These stereotypes go unchallenged and they happen before children go to school,” she said.

“That’s why gender-neutral toys are so important, because once they get to school, it’s too late.”

She added: “I think we can do more in Australia, which has a hyper-masculine childhood history where boys are expected to be boys and play sports, and girls are expected to (conform to traditional gender roles ).”

The news comes a week later Lego has pledged to remove “gender bias” and “harmful stereotypes” of its products.

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