According to a recent study, 1.2 million Americans identify as gender neutral today – with another global study finding that Gen Z is now four times more likely to identify as trans, nonbinary, genderfluid, or something other than a traditional binary identity. While some brands have started to embrace this growing population and its needs, there is still work to be done to make the private sector a more inclusive space. Today, we explore one company’s effort to take a deeper look at gender biases to ultimately help solve for them.
To better understand both kids’ and parents’ gender-based prejudices when it comes to toys, LEGO conducted world-wide research with the Geena Davis Institute. When surveying parents, the toy brand found that they are more likely to think of scientists, athletes and engineers as men than women. When kids were similarly surveyed, these feelings were replicated in boys, but girls were considerably more inclined to think of a variety of professions to be for both genders. The data also showed bias of LEGO’s own product, with parents encouraging male children to play with LEGOs more than female. In reaction to this data, LEGO has vowed to remove gender bias from its toys through its Rebuilding the World initiative. While the details of the program have not been fully disclosed yet, LEGO has already removed gender categories from its website and replaced them with interests categories instead. Julia Golden, Chief Product and Marketing Officer at the LEGO Group explains that they know they “have a role to play in putting this right, and this campaign is one of several initiatives we are putting in place to raise awareness of the issue and ensure we make LEGO play as inclusive as possible.”
These preconceptions don’t just come from a parent’s upbringing, but also by the world publicized around us. In fact, our research has found that over half of Americans believe gender stereotypes exist partially because of the way companies have represented gender identity in marketing and advertising. The need for gender-neutral options will only continue to grow and all industries must start thinking on how they can meet this demand head-on.