Lego to remove ‘gender bias’ from products

Legos are for everybody and now the toymaker is pledging to remove what it called “gender bias” from its products.

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The company has not specifically said what it plans to do, but said it has committed to getting rid of “gender bias and harmful stereotypes,” CNN reported.

Researchers with Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media conducted the study on Lego’s behalf and found that 76% of parents polled would encourage their sons to play with Legos, while 24% of parents of girls would encourage their daughters to play with the brick building system.

The study polled nearly 7,000 children and parents in seven countries. Researchers asked about careers, extracurricular activities and toys, CNN reported.

The report was published to coincide with the United Nation’s International Day of the Girl and also found that parents of girls were nearly five times more likely to encourage girls to dress up and four times more likely to suggest dancing, cooking and baking. At the same time, boys were more likely to play coding games or participate in sports, CNN reported.

The study also came out days after Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., signed a law that will require stores to provide gender-neutral shopping areas for child care and toys, The Washington Post reported.

The law does not apply to clothing, The Associated Press reported. It also only applies to retailers with 500 or more employees.

Conservatives have spoken out against Newsom’s move saying that the government requiring compliance on gender is a violation of free speech, the Post reported.

They also said that the government shouldn’t tell parents how to shop for children, the AP reported.

Lego said as part of the findings that there is a “need for society to rebuild perceptions, actions and words to support the creative empowerment of all children.”

Lego’s Chief Marketing Officer Julia Goldin, said in a statement that, “The benefits of creative play such as building confidence, creativity and communication are skills felt by all children and yet we still experience age-old stereotypes that label activities as only being suitable for one specific gender.”

Lego has announced a new campaign that will make the toys more inclusive called “Ready for Girls” that will celebrate creativity in girls. As part of the push, they will produce short films that shine a light on girls’ achievements.

Lego has come under fire for targeting the line “Lego Friends” at girls because the sets featured beauty parlors and bakeries. But recently the company has come out with a rainbow-colored “LGBTQ-themed set called “Everyone is Awesome” that was announced in May, CNN reported.

You can read the study here.

How can parents start to change the perceptions of gender bias inside their own homes?

The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and Lego suggest these steps:

  • Introduce new activities: Make a list of activities your child does and switch them up to try something new.
  • Role swap: Show that roles shouldn’t be based on gender.
  • Role models: Introduce your child to a new role model that is more diverse.
  • Don’t judge, praise: if a child shows an interest out of gender norms, praise them and don’t redirect them to activities that are considered more acceptable to their gender.
  • Encourage mixed-gender friendships.
  • Know what books and shows your child is watching and encourage them to branch out.
  • Set an example for your kids by growing your interests and stepping outside your own comfort zone.