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Australia needs to ditch pink and blue toys and packaging and toys stores should be gender neutral to avoid outdated stereotypes, according to a researcher.

The Land Down Under is being encouraged to follow in the footsteps of California, which has just become the first US state requiring retailers to display toys and childcare products in gender-neutral ways. While the new law doesn’t ban boys’ and girls’ sections in shops, large stores must also have a separate gender neutral section.

Australian Catholic University (ACU) researcher Associate Professor Laura Scholes says Australian states and territories should follow suit.

“Gendered children’s toys create harmful and outdated stereotypes discouraging girls away from lucrative and rewarding STEM careers,” Associate Professor Scholes said.

Kids aspiring to stereotypical careers by age 7

Associate Professor Scholes has been heading up a new study of children in Year 3, from 14 Australian schools. She’s found that school-based STEM policies aren’t tackling gendered stereotypes early enough. “Our study found that by age seven to eight years, both girls and boys had very stereotypical ideas about their future careers.

“Year 3 students in our study already had gendered career aspirations with girls’ aspiring to traditional caring female roles and away from STEM,” she said. “Companies such as Lego, who last week pledged to work towards ending gender stereotypes in products, are to be commended but more needs to be done.”

The recommendation is that parents and teachers avoid gender stereotypes early in children’s lives.

Do you making an effort to steer your kids away from gender stereotypes when playing with toys?

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  • We don’t need to be too precious. Kids choose what they like and don’t even look at the colour of the package

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  • Not a bad idea. We are only just, as a society, beginning to break down stereotypes.

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  • I remember my son having a purple drink bottle, and another boy telling him it was a “girls” color. He refused to use it again.

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  • I honestly think it’s up to us as parents to teach our kids about not gender specified roles. It’s also upto us to teach them that blue and pink are not boy/girl colours.
    We let our boys choose what they like themselves, my nearly 3 year old boy LOVES Trolls which is mostly bright pink packaging… He loves it and doesn’t consider it to be a girl toy section at all.

    Let’s stop expecting others to do the job we’re meant to be doing

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  • I used to let my son look at and choose anything. I do thing toy stores are starting to mix genders, and this will take time to turn things around.

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  • Children should be able to play with and choose to buy whatever they want

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  • That’s pretty fair, I let my daughter play with whatever she wants with no restrictions based on gender.

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  • I’ve let my son play with whatever he wants from the start and I’ve never pushed any gender stereotypes and my son who is almost two is obsessed with cars, trucks and the colour blue!! He just is! So let my son love what he loves and not call it gender stereotyping! I bought him a doll and a tea set and a pram and he is just not interested.

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  • I don’t mind the colors, I mind toys being categorised via them.

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  • Oh for goodness sake! What if the kids actually like those colours?

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  • I am happy to give any toys they love to play.

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  • This whole gender neutral is just ridiculous. Why bring this in on children who know nothing about it. Just let children be children. They can play with whatever they like. Why get rid of the colours pink and blue? All this political correctness is getting way out of hand and now it’s started on children’s toys. C’mon! Get real. Totally ridiculous!

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  • I think kids should feel like they can play with any toy. Personally I have always hated the over use of pink to denote ‘girls toys’, in the same way I loathe that girls clothes can often be wishy washy pastels and pink dominance, rather than just , gasp of shock ‘all and any colour’.

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  • Yes, I always steered my kids away from gender stereotypes with toys, also with clothing. When my son was 3yrs old or so he wanted a pink jumper and a doll and so he got what he wished for


    • My son also loved to dress up in dresses with heels and necklaces.

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  • Just let kids be kids please

    Reply

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