Are toys still marketed by gender?

November 2022

Curiosity is important to us. When we think about what the gender sport gap is, we often find ourselves asking big questions.

This half term Totally Runable Director and co-founder Natalie Jackson is being curious, asking;

Are toys still marketed by gender?

Children learn through play. Toys teach them about themselves and the world around them. They learn what is expected of them, and imagine what might be possible for them when they grow up. Sadly, toys have often been seen to teach children outdated gender stereotypes.

A simple google image search for “toys for girls” or “toys for boys” tells you all you need to know about how toys have traditionally been advertised. But what are we seeing in 2022? Despite perceived progress in recent years, are we still seeing construction, science and action marketed to boys, while arts and crafts, dolls and beauty are marketed to girls? Are pictures of children playing with toys in catalogues are still traditionally gendered? Would you buy an arts and crafts toy or doll for a boy in a pink box? (Have you?) Would you notice if you weren’t offered science or construction toys in an online toy search for a gift for a girl? Is there still a social cost to children when they play with toys that are not traditionally associated with their gender?

With Christmas fast approaching and the festive advertising already ramping up, this half term we’re on the lookout for gendered toy marketing, or really great examples of gender neutral or switched messages.

And we’d love to know what you think.

Have you seen a great example of a doll being marketed to boys? Did you spot a construction set in neutral colours being played with by an active girl? We’d love to see them.

Tag us @totallyrunable on social media using #genderedtoys and be part of the debate.