Mummy Buzz


Gender-Specific Toys Limit Career Prospects

Variety is the spice

girl playing with lego

Do the toys girls play with shape their job prospects later in life? British education minister, Elizabeth Truss, thinks so. If we steer girls away from stereotypical "boy toys," are we inadvertently steering them away from possible careers in engineering and science?

According to an article in the BBC, those fields are still heavily dominated by men—at over 80 percent—while the vast majority of those in caring and administrative positions are women. 

"Boys' toys tend to contain didactic information, with technical instructions and fitting things together with Lego and Meccano, whereas girls' toys tend to be around imaginative and creative play, which develop different skills," said Professor of Education at Roehampton University, Becky Francis.

I can vouch for that. As a discerning shopper and mom to a boy, I'm sometimes put off. Even toys that shouldn't be gender-specific, like pet care and cooking kits, tend to be wrapped up in pink ribbons, with overtly girly packaging. 

Apparently, the key to well-rounded child development is a "healthy play diet." Variety being the spice.
Some researchers have suggested dressing Barbie in traditionally male uniformsi.e. a firefighter or an astronautto level the playing field. Inspired? Check out how this manufacturer is fighting gender stereotypes one toy at a time.
Is early play any indication of future career prospects? 

Do we steer kids to certain toys, or do kids naturally gravitate to some types of toys over others?