Lego is committed to “eliminating gender bias” from its products

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Written by Megan C. Hills, CNN

Lego has announced plans to remove gender biases from its products, after a study commissioned by the brand found girls are hampered by “unequal and restrictive” attitudes towards creativity and play.

Although the Danish toy maker has not introduced any specific changes to its products or marketing, it announced on Monday that it is committed to ensuring that they are “free from gender bias and damaging stereotypes” .

The move comes after researchers questioned nearly 7,000 children and parents from seven countries on their take on careers, extracurricular activities and toys. The study, which was conducted on behalf of Lego by actress Geena Davis’ eponymous research institute, found that 76% of parents would encourage their sons to play with Lego bricks while only 24% would. their daughters.

LEGO has launched a new campaign called ‘Ready for Girls’ to celebrate the United Nations International Day of the Girl. Credit: Courtesy Lego

Released to coincide with the United Nations International Day of the Girl, the report also found that parents were nearly five times more likely to encourage girls to dress up than boys, and about four times more likely to encourage girls to dress up than boys. girls dancing or cooking and cooking. . Conversely, parents were much more likely to encourage boys to play coding games or play sports.

Lego said in a press release that there was a “need for society to rebuild perceptions, actions and words to support the creative empowerment of all children.”

“The benefits of creative play, such as boosting self-confidence, creativity and communication skills, are felt by all children and yet we still experience age-old stereotypes that characterize activities as only suitable for children. a specific gender, ”said Julia Goldmin, Marketing Manager for Lego Group. officer, in a press release.

Elsewhere in the study, researchers found that most parents imagine a man when asked to think about various occupations, whether or not they have a daughter. Gender bias was most pronounced when it came to occupations like engineering, which 89% of parents saw as more of a man’s job. They were also more than five times more likely to view athletes and scientists as men.

Mahiru Suzuki, 11, a Japanese schoolgirl who created a marching band, is one of the young women featured in the campaign.

Mahiru Suzuki, 11, a Japanese schoolgirl who created a marching band, is one of the young women featured in the campaign. Credit: Courtesy Lego

Committing to making Lego “more inclusive”, the brand also announced a new campaign called “Ready for Girls”, which celebrates female creativity. A series of accompanying short films spotlight the accomplishments of girls and young women, including Fatima Alkaabi, the UAE’s ‘youngest inventor’, and Chelsea Phaire, 11, who founded a charity providing gifts. art supplies to underprivileged children of America. .

Goldmin said: “We know we have a role to play in solving this problem, and this campaign is one of the many initiatives we are putting in place to raise awareness of the problem and make sure the Lego set is as inclusive as possible. . “

Lego has already been criticized for reinforcing gender stereotypes. In 2011, the brand’s “Lego Friends” line was criticized for targeting girls with pink beauty salons and cupcake bakeries. But the brand has also championed inclusion in recent years, with a rainbow-hued LGBTQ-themed ensemble called “Everyone’s Awesome” (a reference to a song from “The Lego Movie” ) on sale in May.


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