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Eleanor Muffitt – Telegraph – Wednesday, 11 December 2013 (originally published 08 Dec)
Walk into any British toy shop and you’ll be faced with a fork in the road: do you take the blue lane, with its miniature helicopters, chemistry sets and binoculars, or do you take the pink lane, with its kitchens, dolls and make up kits? Despite the leaps and bounds in the gender equality movement over the past few decades, children’s learning tools are still stuck in the Fifties. Could this be why we still wouldn’t trust a male beautician or a female plumber?
Despite it being the 21st century, gender stereotypes are attached to children from a startlingly young age – in fact, often before they are even born. Parents-to-be paint babies’ rooms blue or pink while aunts and uncles buy gifts based on how many X chromosomes the foetus has. Once the baby arrives, it will no doubt drink out of a bottle decorated with either pirates or princesses. And so the separate paths begin.
The parent-led Let Toys Be Toys campaign, which asks retailers to arrange toys by theme and function rather than gender, agrees that archaic gender stereotypes limit the skills and hobbies children feel they are allowed to pursue . . .