Ladies first: A look at female role models in toys

With big screen movie launches featuring strong female characters and more toy campaigns than ever before encouraging empowerment among young girls, Jade Burke takes a look at why the toy industry is championing this notion
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When I was little my sister and I were never without a Barbie in our hands, creating make-believe scenarios in which the iconic doll was living the life, in a flash flat with all her fellow Barbie friends. 

Looking back at the years and seeing how far this influential, fictional character has come, it’s pretty mind-blowing. 

This year will see Barbie empower young girls to become exactly who they want to be, whether that’s a doctor, astronaut or Prime Minister, Barbie is here to get kids thinking about their future and to prove that you can be whoever you want to be. 

Couple that with the inspiring new doll body shapes with different skin tones and Barbie is a force to be reckoned with, transforming a lot of lives.

It certainly looks like 2017 is the year of empowerment across the toy industry, with various toy releases and films championing this very theme. 

Last year saw the release of Suicide Squad, introducing fans to the kick-ass supervillian Harley Quinn. Portrayed by actress Margot Robbie, Quinn truly was the embodiment of an independent woman. 

This year will also see actress Gal Gadot take on the role of Wonder Woman, once again igniting that theme of empowerment as the superhero fights evil to try and save the world. 

And with toys depicting both of these female characters already available, young girls will now be able to revel in the fact that superheroes and supervillains aren’t just male anymore. We are as well, and a lot more.

But that isn’t all, as Warner Brothers Consumer Products and DC Entertainment, in partnership with Mattel, have joined forces to develop DC Super Hero Girls, a new franchise that brings iconic female characters from the DC Comics world together. 

Poison Ivy, Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Supergirl: they’re all in there, making up my and many others’ ultimate girl squad. 

There’s no doubt that by offering a new immersive world with the DC Super Hero Girls, as well as an extensive toy line, that these characters will offer young girls a positive role model to look up to, and of course inspire them to be who they want to be. 

Thanks to developments like this in the industry, 2017 truly looks set to motivate women and girls. So, in the words of Beyoncé, ‘Who run the World? Girls’. 


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Business boom: A look at how business rates are affecting indies

The High Street has never been more competitive with more grocers and online stores cropping up than ever before, and with Government plans to increase business rates, could this spell the death of the indie retail scene? Jade Burke asks this month’s ToyShop UK listing how the hike will affect today’s toy retailers.

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Own bargains: An in-depth look into own-label toys

Own-label products are now a key part of many retailers’ portfolio, but are these low-cost toys now starting to damage the independent retail scene who champion branded goods? Here, Jade Burke ask this month’s ToyShop UK listing how detrimental these own-branded toys are to indies on the High Street.

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