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LEGO says it will remove "gender bias and harmful stereotypes" from toys and marketing

LEGO Group says it will make playing more inclusive for kids by ensuring its marketing and products are "free of gender bias and harmful stereotypes." The news was announced on Monday – International Day of the Girl.

The iconic toy company says new research found girls remain held back by society's ingrained gender stereotypes – even though they feel increasingly confident to engage in all types of play and creative activities.

Nearly 7,000 parents and children ages six to 14 were surveyed for the study. The research findings show girls feel less restrained by typical gender biases than boys when it comes to creative play. For example, 82% of girls believe it's OK for girls to play football and boys to practice ballet, compared to only 71% of boys.

The research also found LEGOs are considered a "boy" toy – with 59% of parents saying they encourage their sons to build with LEGO bricks compared to 48% who say they encourage it with their daughters. 

LEGO says boys are also "battling prejudice when it comes to creative play and playing with toys that are traditionally seen as being for the opposite sex." For example, 71% of boys say they worry about being made fun of if they play with a toy typically associated for the other gender, versus 42% of girls.

To help combat these gender biases, LEGO is working with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and UNICEF "to ensure LEGO products and marketing are accessible to all and free of gender bias and harmful stereotypes."

The gender stereotypes found in the survey go beyond children. The research also found parents were almost six times more likely to think of scientists and athletes as men than women and more than eight times as likely to think of engineers as men than women.

When asked the same questions, girls were much more likely than boys to consider a wider range of professions to be for both women and men.

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