All posts by Tricia


12 fun toys to foster STEM skills

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

Of course we all know science is for everyone, but gender bias means STEM toys are often targeted squarely at boys, (or else given a dusting of pink glitter and lipstick as if that’s the only way to get girls interested). We’ve chosen twelve toys to help curious children everywhere develop an interest in science and discovery. Read more…

Igloo books - adventure stories for boys, classic stories for girls

How do we get more boys reading? (Clue: ‘boy books’ aren’t the answer.)

The Let Books Be Books campaign has attracted much media coverage and high profile support, but labelling books ‘for boys’ is sometimes defended as a useful tool for getting boys to read. Tricia Lowther argues that gendering reading doesn’t help literacy, and may even be harming boys’ chances.

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Not-so-Happy Meals at McDonalds UK

They may not be a toy shop but McDonald’s are the world’s largest distributor of toys. Happy Meals are enjoyed by boys and girls alike and although UK and Ireland branches have avoided gendered toy marketing for several years, Let Toys Be Toys supporters have raised concerns that separate toys for boys and girls are now being offered.

Our map shows that in over 70% of restaurants, rather than being given a choice of toy, customers are being asked if it is for a boy or a girl, another 13% are giving the toys out based on perceived gender, which means 83% of branches are not adhering to McDonald’s stated policy: Read more…


“Dads need to do more and speak up more”

To celebrate Father’s Day we talked to Dads Rock; the Scottish network of free playgroups which was set up by a couple of Edinburgh dads who saw a gap in services for fathers. Co-founder Thomas Lynch spoke to us:  Read more…


Sometimes all you have to do is ask

It’s great when big companies make positive changes, but every change matters and sometimes efforts made by smaller businesses can be overlooked. It can seem like a big risk for an independent to go against the gendered flow so we think these two recent examples deserve some credit, let them know what you think.

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Parliamentary debate on toys and gender

Let Toys Be Toys were delighted to see the gender-specific marketing of toys debated in Parliament last week, tabled by Chi Onwurah, MP for Central Newcastle and Cabinet Office Shadow Minister.

It was great to see the campaign mentioned several times, and MPs from the three main parties expressing support for our aims. Read more…


‘Ban on toyshop sexism won’t end children’s gender stereotyping’ – A Response

Tricia Lowther explains why campaigning against gendered toy marketing is important, in an open reply to Sam Leith of the Guardian. Read more…

Hands playing with brightly coloured toy cars and aeroplanes

“That’s for girls and that’s for boys”

Are children really affected by gender stereotypes?  Tricia Lowther looks at how kids take in the ‘gender rules’.

The vast fortune spent on marketing toys to children has no effect, and there’s no such thing as peer pressure. At least that’s what some critics of Let Toys Be Toys suggest when they say that children will choose to play with whatever they like and aren’t affected by signs in shops, adverts or packaging.  Read more…


Reach for the stars – unless you’re a girl

It’s fifty years since a woman first flew in outer space, so why do space-themed children’s toys, books and clothes rarely show girls? asks Tricia Lowther.

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Since the 70’s



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