The UN's HeForShe Initiative has partnered with Boy Story to launch two special edition action dolls named Billy and Mason. The action dolls aim to challenge current prejudice surrounding boys playing with dolls, and promotes the notion that both boys and girls should have the same opportunity to bond with a special playmate.
The statement from HeForShe states that all children, regardless of their gender, need to learn nurturing, emotional intelligence, and empathy.
"Children learn through play," said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, under-secretary-general and executive director of UN Women. "If we teach children from the earliest ages that girls and boys should act and be treated differently, we are setting them up for a life of inequality. We want the opposite; where all children, no matter their gender, see girls and boys as peers with exactly equal rights, and choices that are wide open."
When two sisters, Kristen Johnson and Katie Jarvis, launched Boy Story on Kickstarter last year, they wanted to break new ground in the world of toys.
"We have an uphill challenge, bigger than we thought, in breaking down gender stereotypes in children's toys. But even as a young company, we think the alliance with UN Women's HeForShe Initiative is important," says Kristen Johnson, one of Boy Story's founders. "Boy Story's goal goes hand-in-hand with UN Women's mission – to break down barriers and work tirelessly for real gender equality."
The special edition action dolls are part of the HeForShe Equality Line, a cause marketing initiative between HeForShe and ethical brands. The dolls are available now at www.boystory.com – and proceeds raised will go towards UN Women's programmatic work on women and girl's empowerment globally.