Let Toys Be Toys campaign is asking the toy and publishing industries to stop limiting children’s interests by promoting some toys and books as only suitable for girls, and others only for boys.

Find out more about the Let Toys Be Toys campaign.

Books for Young Children – 2018 Gift Guide

We believe all children should be able to choose freely the books they like best and we celebrate all the marvellous writers, illustrators, publishers and booksellers that avoid putting boy or girl labels on books. Here we list some of our favourite reads for the very small people in our lives.

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Great gifts to foster STEM skills – 2018 gift guide

As well as being fun, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) toys and books are a great way to build skills such as problem solving, spatial awareness and critical thinking.

We’ve chosen a range of toys and books to help curious children everywhere develop an interest in science and discovery.

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Arts and Crafts 2018 gift guide

If you’re looking for an arts and crafts gift, and want to shop outside the pink and blue boxes of gender stereotypes, check out our inclusive gift guide for fun arts and crafts present ideas for children.

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Toymark turns 5!

2018 marks the five year anniversary of the Let Toys Be Toys Toymark – our good practice award recognises toy retailers and booksellers who are marketing inclusively to all children, without ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ labels or colour-coded signage. Over 50 retailers throughout the UK have received our award since 2013.  Read what some of our retailers have shared about winning the award.

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Whirligig Toys becomes first multi-branch winner of the Toymark award

On the fifth anniversary of the launch of the Toymark scheme, Whirligig Toys has been awarded with the 2018 badge for good practice for all four locations of their shop, making them the first multi-shop recipient of the award.

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Raising children without gender stereotypes

By Dr Finn Mackay, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of the West of England

You can now download, display and consult your very own guide to raising children without gender stereotypes, all in an A3 poster! The 20 tips introduced on the poster are a summary of a much longer article and they will hopefully be useful, practical, informative and probably provocative, for parents and educators alike. The tips are only a beginning, and they are intended to start reflection and discussion: everyone could probably add their own to the list.

What?

Firstly, let’s start at the beginning, what sort of stereotypes are we talking about? Anyone with children in their lives, perhaps especially young children, cannot have failed to notice gender stereotyping: in children’s clothes; in children’s toys; in leisure activities aimed at children; in children’s programmes on TV… basically, everywhere. Read more…

Why no stories for rebel children? Don’t divide young readers by gender

By Tricia Lowther, originally published in the Guardian.

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, and its more recent male equivalent Stories for Boys Who Dare to Be Different, are among a clutch of bestselling children’s books that supposedly break down gender stereotypes. By sharing tales of inspirational women and men who succeeded against the prevailing stereotypes of their time, these books aim to challenge ideas about what it means to be a boy or a girl. But could they actually be reinforcing the problem? Read more…

Could a new rule make advertisers dump stereotypes?

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) is consulting on a new rule, aiming to tackle gender stereotyping in advertising. Here’s how we’re planning to respond – you can submit your own thoughts to the consultation until Thursday 26 July (tips below).

The CAP and BCAP codes set out the principles that the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) uses to judge advertising. Following the ASA’s report last year, which gathered evidence of the damage caused by gender stereotyping, ASA now intends to come up with a workable new rule and supporting guidance to act against ads that cause harm or offence due to stereotyping.

While we welcome the proposed new rule, we feel the proposed supporting guidance can do more to promote better practice. And we recognise that the real solution lies in more creativity from the ad and toy industries. Read more…

Do we need more female villains in books?

Lesson plans – gender bias in children’s books

Recent research found just one female ‘baddie’ in the top one hundred best selling picture books. These ready-to-use lesson plans for World Book Day look at gender bias in children’s books as a way of opening discussion on everyday sexism in books and films.

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shelf of children's picture books

Constructing bias – the wonky world of picture books

New research released this week by the Observer newspaper shows how picture books present children a worryingly lopsided view of the world: with males outnumbering females 2:1 among significant speaking characters, and male villains in 89% of books with ‘baddies’. Jess Day takes a look at the results.

The Observer’s research looked at 2017’s 100 top selling picture books: non-human characters (animals and monsters) were nearly twice as likely to be male, while you were twenty times more likely to come across an all-male book, than an all-female book.

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