Lego to remove gender bias from toys following survey

ITV News Correspondent Martha Fairlie went to a Lego club in Surrey to see if gender biases play out there

Lego will remove gender stereotypes from their figures, the Danish toy company has announced.

A global survey commissioned by Lego found attitudes to play and future careers remain unbalanced and restrictive, which has instigated the change.

The research ascertained that girls are happy to engage in a wide range of activities, while boys' play is limited.

According to the survey, 71% of boys fear being mocked if they play with what are traditionally seen as "girls' toys", a mindset generally shared by their parents.

“Parents are more worried that their sons will be teased than their daughters for playing with toys associated with the other gender,” Madeline Di Nonno, the chief executive of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, who conducted the research, told the Guardian.

A child plays with her Lego. Credit: PA

“But it’s also that behaviours associated with men are valued more highly in society,” said Di Nonno.

“Until societies recognise that behaviours and activities typically associated with women are as valuable or important, parents and children will be tentative to embrace them.”

Boys are still being taken down a path based around sports, whereas girls are encouraged to dress up or do dance, a sign of how ingrained gender stereotypes are.

Lego have launched a campaign to encourage girls to play with the blocks

Lego surveyed 7,000 children and parents aged between six and 14 from China, the Czech Republic, Japan, Poland, Russia, UK and the US. 

"All children should be able to reach their true creative potential,” says Julia Goldin, CMO Lego Group.

Lego no longer brands any of its toys "for boys" or "for girls", nor can people search on their website for items based on gender.

Last year the Fawcett Society proved how stereotyping and segregating toys by gender was causing a mental health crisis within the young and limiting potential career choices.

Toys provide a lot of learning capabilities for children and if girls do not play with something like Lego which aids construction expertise and helps develop spatial skills needed for later life.

More girls will be used with product testing for Lego items as the company looks to play its part in balancing gender bias for children.