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Toys "R" Us Ends Gender Stereotyping in the UK; Let's Bring This Change to the US

toys-r-us-genderIn very exciting news this week, Toys "R" Us in the UK announced that it will end gender-based marketing in its stores and advertisements; however, Toys "R" Us has announced no plans to make similar changes in the US. According to MSN News, the British campaign group Let Toys Be Toys reached "an agreement with the retailer to strike 'explicit' references to gender in its stores and feature more ads with girls and boys playing with the same toys."

The toy chain agreed to make changes both to its in-store signage and advertisements, starting by looking at how toys will be represented in its upcoming Christmas catalog. This move by Toys "R" Us UK for greater gender neutrality in toy marketing follows on similar changes by other leading European toy retailers including Swedish Toys "R" Us franchise, Top Toy, and Britain’s largest department store Harrod's.

At A Mighty Girl, we believe now is the time for Toys "R" Us in the USA to join its European counterparts and end the rampant gender stereotyping in its marketing of toys to children. By following their examples, Toys "R" Us in the USA can send an important message to children, parents, and others that children's interests should not be limited by their gender.

Such segregated play leads girls and boys to hone different skill sets from an early age; skills they build upon to determine the direction of their future schooling and later career path. These differences perpetuate the disparities still seen in the job market, particularly in women's low representation in technical fields like engineering and computer science, further cementing the gender-based wage gap. The number of children bullied because they wish to explore types of play that fall outside of the Toys "R" Us gendered 'boy' and 'girl' boxes also continues to rise.

Fortunately, there are easy steps that Toys "R" Us can take to make its stores and marketing materials more gender inclusive which we lay out in our petition linked below. If you believe that every child should feel free to explore their interests without feeling held our back by outdated gender stereotypes, please sign our petition to Toys "R" Us.

To learn more about gender stereotyping of toys, visit A Mighty Girl's special site on Let Children Play: End Gender Stereotyping in Toys.

And, congratulations to UK-based Let Toys Be Toys - For Girls and Boys for their excellent work on the British campaign!


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