1. ITV Report

Do our childhood toys define who we are as adults?

Would the colour pink make a boy think about buying these toys? Photo: Good Morning Britain/ITV

The key to getting more girls to study science and engineering may be getting them to ditch Barbie in favour of more gender neutral toys, according to the Government.

Ministers want toymakers and shops to use less pink and sell fewer dolls to young girls in a bid to get more of them into key engineering subjects in later life.

Or would any of these toys appeal to your little girl? Credit: Good Morning Britain/ITV

Instead, the Government wants toymakers to come up with more adventurous past times for young girls, so they can have a better understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

While there is not enough evidence to link childhood toys to choice of career, the Government wants to look at childhood toys to see if they send youngsters down a certain path - or block one off for them.

Women and equalities minister Jenny Willott said if more girls became familiar with the tools of engineering and science as youngsters, they were more likely to pursue them as a career.

Mrs Willott pointed to the small number of women in professional engineering in the UK - so far, England has the lowest number in Europe, at 6%.

There also has been no increase in the number of women taking engineering degrees in the UK over the last 30 years.

Jenny Willott said toys marketed at boys put girls off. Credit: Good Morning Britain/ITV

If something is marketed, it is put in a boys aisle section, and it's blue and it has got things exploding on it, then very few girls pick that up.

What we have is some great science kits for girls...but they are not necessarily always as visible.

We want to make sure girls have those options as well, so they can see what they are interested in and we don't close their options off at a really early stage.

– Jenny Willott