Forbes: New Report Reveals How The Marketing Of Toys Reinforces Gender Stereotypes

Children’s ambitions, interests, and skills are shaped very early on by the media they consume, their choice of toys, and how they play. When these early experiences reinforce gender stereotypes and roles, it has a profound influence on their confidence, sense of self, and potential. A child’s early experiences affect not only their development and life choices, but eventually the composition of our workforce, the strength of our economy, and the diversity and balance within our world.

A child internalizes gender stereotypes by the age of five. It starts from the moment they’re born. As we get older, we attempt to fix ourselves with self-help books and advice to unlearn these beliefs, but we don’t look at the root of the problem. Toy industry thought leaders and social impact experts, Laurel Wider and Jodi Bondi Norgaard are doing just that. They have spent the last few years focusing on where the stereotypes start and how toys and play in particular nurture and encourage gender roles. They believe if we want to raise whole children, we need to support and encourage the whole child. Their most recent work is a collaborative effort with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, called Equal Play? Analyzing Gender Stereotypes, Diversity, and Inclusion in Advertising and Marketing for the Most Popular Toys of 2022 that examines how marketing techniques in the toy industry reinforce gender norms and expectations.

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