New research commissioned by the LEGO Group reveals that girls today feel increasingly confident to engage in all types of play and creative activities, but remain held back by society’s ingrained gender stereotypes as they grow older. The study was carried out by the Geena Davis Institute in recognition of the UN’s International Day of the Girl and to mark the launch of a new LEGO campaign, ‘Ready for Girls’, which celebrates girls who rebuild the world through creative problem solving.
The research, which surveyed nearly 7,000 parents and children aged 6–14 years old in China, the Czech Republic, Japan, Poland, Russia, the UK and USA, highlights the need for society to rebuild perceptions, actions and words to support the creative empowerment of all children.
According to the findings of the study, the parents questioned were almost six times as likely to think of scientists and athletes as men than women (85% vs 15%) and over eight times as likely to think of engineers as men than women (89% vs 11%).
Parents are almost five times as likely to encourage girls over boys to engage in dance (81% vs 19%) and dress-up (83% vs 17%) activities, and over three times as likely to do the same for cooking/baking (80% vs. 20%). They are four times as likely to encourage boys over girls to engage in program games (80% vs 20%) and sports (76% vs. 24%) and over twice as likely to do the same when it comes to coding toys (71% vs 29%).
Children are a more open-minded than their parents with their thinking around gender norms, but there is still a way to go. For example, 82% of girls believe it’s OK for girls to play football and boys to practice ballet, compared to only 71% of boys, while 74% of boys vs 62% of girls believe that some activities are just meant for girls, while others are meant for boys.
On International Day of The Girl, the LEGO Group is calling on parents and children to champion inclusive play. To help, they have developed a 10-step guide and are inviting parents to share photos of their child’s LEGO creations against a pre-defined AR backdrop featuring the words ‘Get the World Ready for Me’. In addition, the LEGO Group has made short films celebrating inspiring and entrepreneurial girls from the United Arab Emirates, United States and Japan, each of which are already rebuilding the world through creativity.
The company is committed to making LEGO play more inclusive, and will continue to work closely with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and UNICEF to ensure LEGO products and marketing are accessible to all and free of gender bias and harmful stereotypes.