All posts in Perspectives

Two years on – who’s letting books be books?

Igloo2001covers

Since we launched our books campaign on World Book Day 2014, ten publishers have agreed to Let Books Be Books. Two years on, who are the publishers still labelling books ‘for girls’ or ‘for boys’?

Read more…

Image of blue and pink aisles in a toy shop, text: 'We can change this'

Why I quit the United Nations to battle toy discrimination

Hai Tiet is the man behind US online toy retailer Woozy Moo, but his background isn’t in the toy industry. He explains why he thinks running an inclusive toy store is an important way to combat gender inequality.

I was walking down the halls of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Higher Education with a colleague when she told me that she was looking for the women’s restroom, but a ministry official said there were none. There were none because, the official said: “Women using restrooms is disgusting.” Read more…

What’s wrong with pink and blue?

“What’s wrong with pink and blue?” Let Toys Be Toys campaigners are often asked this question. Tricia Lowther looks at some of the issues around colour coding.

How can there be anything wrong with pink or blue, aren’t they just colours?

Yes they are, and they are also used as cultural signifiers; codes that mean ‘boy’ or ‘girl’, and are used to segregate children (and sometimes adults) into two distinct groups to be targeted in very different ways. Despite retailers moving away from explicit ‘girls’ and ‘boys’ signs in shops, while we still have pink aisles and blue aisles we still have toys segregated by gender.
Read more…

The Gender Police: A Diary

Through their Twitter account @GenderDiary Ros Ball and her partner James have been cataloguing the drip-drip-drip of gendered messages their children receive. With the e-book of the project out today, Ros explained to us how the project came about, and what they hope it’s achieved.  Read more…

composite of images of preschool TV

Girls on TV – who’s watching?

Campaigner Jess Day looks at the links between toy marketing and children’s media, and why discussion of how girls are represented in media needs to talk about boys too.

Read more…

pirate and princess party bags

Princess or Pirate – what’s wrong with mixed parties?

Princess or Pirate? Deborah Nicholls-Lee looks at the pink-blue divide in the children’s party market and asks why shops seem to think boys and girls aren’t friends?

Read more…

Five Princess Leia figures and two Han Solo toys from the original Star Wars

Star Wars: where is Princess Leia?

This Star Wars Day (May the Fourth…) lifelong Star Wars fan and stay-at-home-Dad-blogger Simon Ragoonanan senses a disturbance in the force, and asks… where are all the women?

When I was a child in the seventies, the first fellow Star Wars fan I knew was a girl who lived round the corner. Together, we played with our Star Wars toys and her way into it was her beloved Princess Leia figure. There wasn’t anything odd about a boy and girl playing together, let alone a girl being into Star Wars. Read more…

Girl and boy with giant construction bricks

Science toys – which toys really spark science learning?

Play is how children learn about the world, so the toys on offer to them really matter. This British Science Week, science educator Wendy Sadler looks at how toys can help develop the scientists and engineers of the future, and offers some ideas of what to look for. Read more…

Pink and blue – who cares?

Are parents really that bothered about pink/blue marketing? Jim Wilson, owner and manager of independent toy and gift retailer Born Gifted wasn’t convinced. So he asked his customers – and the answers surprised him. We asked him to explain more about why he commissioned the research, and what he found. Read more…

Raising the issue of stereotypes in school – case study

It can be daunting to raise a question with your child’s school. Will the teacher be angry or offended? Might you get labelled as a nuisance? Megan explains how she went about querying the language of a homework assignment which reinforced stereotypes about who can be an inventor. Read more…