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

Research 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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Christmas toy catalogues

Most toy catalogues still play to stereotypes – new research

Despite a few positive signs, our new research shows that the promotional images used in toy catalogues represent children’s play along highly stereotyped lines, with only a handful of boys shown with dolls, and boys four times as likely to be seen playing with cars or other vehicles.
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Hachette is eleventh UK publisher to #LetBooksBeBooks

UK children’s books publisher Hachette is the eleventh publisher to confirm that it will “let books be books” and ditch the gender labels on its book covers

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Top with dinosaur skeleton, label 'Boys and girls'

John Lewis Boys and Girls clothes

There’s been a lot of media attention to John Lewis’ announcement of a commitment to avoid gender stereotypes – here’s our take.

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Let Toys Be Toys - visit www.lettoysbetoys.org.uk for ideas for resources to challenge gender stereotypes - cartoon of children playing with lots of toys.

Let Toys Be Toys in nursery and pre-school

Our new resource for parents and workers in early years settings offers a range of ways to challenge stereotypes with younger children.

We’ve created a printable poster to go with the materials – with thanks to illustrator Leighton Noyes for kind permission to use the image. Read more…

No more boys and girls? Really?

We’re looking forward to tonight’s BBC2 documentary ‘No more boys and girls’. Here’s why we wish they’d picked another title.

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words used in TV toy ads featuring girls: most prominent words magic, fun, beautiful, princess, glitter, style, hair, sparkle

Tougher guidelines on stereotypes in adverts

Let Toys Be Toys welcomes the ASA report which confirms many of the things that we have campaigned on over the last five years. We are delighted about a new tougher stance on damaging gender stereotypes in advertising. Read more…

Being ManKind: men and boys in the 21st century

Being ManKind wants to reach children and young adults with positive male role models, using their books, lesson plans and workshops. Editor Joe Byrde tells Let Toys Be Toys about their plans and their new kickstarter campaign.

When Dave Chawner, a stand-up comedian, summoned the courage to go to his GP suffering from depression, he never expected to be diagnosed with clinical anorexia.

When Jack Morris left a promising career in the police to stay at home while his wife went out to work, his friends found it difficult to understand such an arrangement. Read more…

Changing our stories to #redrawthebalance

Katrina Encanto is part of the team behind the campaign about gender stereotypes and childhood role models, #redrawthebalance. In this guest blog post she looks at gender bias in media and why lack of representation for women and girls matters.

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