This page provides ideas to help ensure your child has equal opportunities to develop a range of skills and confidence regardless of their gender.
Stereotypes are based on an assumption that all boys will be the same and like the same things, and all girls will be the same and like the same things. This can lead to children being restricted in the interests, skills and behaviours they develop.
This page focuses on different expectations that can be placed on girls and boys.
Children receive and absorb gender stereotyped messages about what they can and cannot do as a girl or as a boy from a very early age.
For example, toy manufacturers often market more aggressive toys to boys and more passive toys to girls, construction activities to boys and creative ones to girls. In picture books, women and girls are often portrayed as performing more domestic tasks while men are largely under-represented as parents. These stereotypes are unhelpful for both boys and girls.
Stereotypes suggest that girls and boys are very different and naturally like different things. For example, that girls are better at being carers and are not as good at maths, and boys are less emotional and are better at science or construction. Research suggests, however, that this is not the case. There is overwhelming evidence that there are no inherent differences between girls and boys which should limit a child's interests or ambitions. Genders are more alike than different.
Gender stereotypes can affect:
There is, of course, nothing wrong with making choices along traditional lines, as long as those choices are not being limited by ideas about gender.
We all have unconscious biases that can lead us to treat people differently without us realising we are doing it.
Research shows that adults tend to play differently with babies dressed as boys compared to those dressed as girls. Adults tend to offer 'girl' babies dolls and tend to hold them gently. They are more likely to offer 'boys' toy cars and balls and tend to play in a more rough and tumble way.
Let Toys be Toys: Why it matters
Girls toys vs boy toys: The experiement - BBC Stories
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