Gender bias in toys, books scrutinized by Dutch Education Ministry

Kids playing in a toy kitchen
Kids playing in a toy kitchenPhoto: FamVeldman/DepositPhotos

Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven of Education, Culture and Science is calling on toy manufacturers to "examine" the gender role-confirming toys in their collection. She is also talking with publishers about stereotyping in text books, AD reports.

In a TED talk last December, the Minister already spoke about gender stereotyping, starting at an early age. Toys aimed at girls are of a "caring" nature. Toys aimed at boys are focused on adventure. According to the Minister, women are unintentionally trapped by gender stereotypes - only work part time jobs if you're raising a family. And due to the financial dependence this creates, women are sometimes also unable to leave a relationship if they want to.

Other EU countries are also taking a hard look at role-confirming toys. From next year, toy stores in France will no longer be allowed to have sections aimed specifically at boys or specifically at girls. They will also not be allowed to advertise by gender, and store staff can no longer ask parents whether something is for a boy or a girl.