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No Gender December - don't let old-fashioned stereotypes limit children's festive fun

Media Release
Larissa Waters 2 Dec 2014

No Gender December, a new campaign to raise awareness about the gendered marketing of toys, is launching in time for the festive season.

"At this time of the year, many of us are looking for children's gifts, and it's important that we think about how toys are being marketed to children," Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens spokesperson for women, said.

"The starkly separate aisles of pink and blue, catalogues categorising toys as for girls or boys, and advertising showing just girls or boys playing with particular toys, can seem harmless.

"However, setting such strong gender stereotypes at early ages can have long-term impacts, including influencing self-perception and career aspirations.

"Out-dated stereotypes about girls and boys and men and women, perpetuate gender inequality, which feeds into very serious problems such as domestic violence and the gender pay gap.

"While such serious problems seem so far removed from choosing children's toys, it's important that we think about this issue, especially when so many children's toys are being bought.

"Play Unlimited's No Gender December campaign is an important opportunity to raise awareness of the gendered marketing of toys because no child's imagination should be limited by old-fashioned stereotypes," Senator Waters said.

Play Unlimited co-founders Thea Hughes, based in New South Wales, and Julie Huberman, based in Queensland, hope that the campaign will prompt toy companies to become more inclusive in their marketing.

"It's 2014 - women mow lawns and men push prams but while we've moved on, many toy companies haven't," Ms Huberman said.

"We're inviting everyone concerned about overt gendered marketing to sign our No Gender December pledge and we're pleased to have a number of academic researchers and psychologists supporting our campaign.

"We're also inviting parents to hold playdates on Sunday December 14, where they can talk with friends about gendered marketing while kids play, and we're looking forward to joining Senator Waters for a playdate in Brisbane.

"By standing together we can send a strong message to toy companies that that there is no place for toys perpetuating outdated gender stereotypes under our Christmas trees or in our homes," Ms Huberman said.

For more info and to sign the pledge:

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