Lego Group is committed to removing “gender bias and harmful stereotypes” from its toys, the company announced in a statement Monday.
Lego cited a study by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, a non-profit pushing for “gender balance” in entertainment and media, showing that the majority of children “believe that some activities are just meant for girls, while others are meant for boys.” Lego is “calling on parents and children to champion inclusive play” to change the perception of children, the toy company said in a statement. The statement said in part:
Ensuring more inclusive play and raising the debate around gender norms is critical, not just for girls but for any child. The LEGO Group knows that boys are also battling prejudice when it comes to creative play and playing with toys that are traditionally seen as being for the opposite sex. 71% of boys vs. 42% of girls say they worry about being made fun of if they play with a toy typically associated for the other gender.
The company is committed to making LEGO play more inclusive and ensuring that children’s creative ambitions – both now in the future – are not limited by gender stereotypes. We know there is work to do which is why from 2021, we will work closely with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and UNICEF to ensure LEGO products and marketing are accessible to all and free of gender bias and harmful stereotypes.
Lego Group, the world’s largest toymaker, has already stripped its products of labels saying “for girls” and “for boys,” according to Lego Group chief product and marketing officer Julia Goldin.
“We’re testing everything on boys and girls, and including more female role models,” Goldin told The Guardian. “Our job now is to encourage boys and girls who want to play with sets that may have traditionally been seen as ‘not for them.’”
Geena Davis, the founder of the Geena Davis Institute, celebrated Lego’s announcement in a statement.
“As a Mom of three children, I have long admired the LEGO Group and I’m heartened by their global commitment to this study to inform how we can dramatically inspire creativity in girls through play and storytelling,” Davis said. “We also know that showing girls unique and unstereotyped activities can lead to an expanded viewpoint of possibilities and opportunities.”
Lego’s announcement comes on the heels of a new California law mandating that large retailers stock a gender-neutral section of their stores. The bill’s author, Democrat state assemblyman Evan Low said that his legislation is a step toward eliminating “harmful and outdated stereotypes” about boys and girls. As The Daily Wire reported:
Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the new law on Saturday, which orders large stores to set aside a gender-neutral section to display “a reasonable selection” of items “regardless of whether they have been traditionally marketed for either girls or for boys.”
The bill was authored by Evan Low, a Democrat state assemblyman, who said he was “incredibly grateful” the governor signed the bill this year.
Low said he was inspired by the 10-year-old girl daughter of one of his staffers, who “asked her mom why certain items in the store were ‘off limits’ to her because she was a girl,” the Associated Press reported.
“We need to stop stigmatizing what’s acceptable for certain genders and just let kids be kids,” Low said. “My hope is this bill encourages more businesses across California and the U.S. to avoid reinforcing harmful and outdated stereotypes.”