A study by LEGO and the Geena Davis Institute reveals that while many girls are ready to overcome stereotypes, their creative potential continues to be conditioned by social prejudice. With this in mind, the group launched the ‘Girls are Ready’ campaign which aims to celebrate all those who reconstructed history by breaking the old-fashioned gender norms.
The study realized by LEGO reveals that girls feel increasingly confident about participating in all kinds of play and creative activities, but continue to be discouraged from doing so due to social stereotypes, especially as they grow up. This study, conducted by the Geena Davis Institute in recognition of International Girl’s Day, marks the beginning of a new campaign by the group, which celebrates girls who have rebuilt the world through creativity.
The survey, which interviewed about 7,000 parents and children aged 6 to 14 in China, the Czech Republic, Japan, Poland, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, reinforces society’s need to change its perception, actions and words to support children’s creative growth.
The study results demonstrate that girls are ready for the world, but society is not ready to support their growth through play. Girls feel more restricted and less supported by typical gender biases than boys when it comes to creative play (74% of boys vs 62% of girls believe that some activities are just for boys and others only for girls) and are more interested in creative play than parents and society usually encourage. For example, 82% of girls believe that it is not wrong for a girl to play soccer or for a boy to practice ballet, compared to only 71% of boys. However, despite the progress made in eliminating prejudices early on, attitudes towards play and later towards creative careers continue to be restrictive and uneven, according to this study.
For most creative professions, the interviewed parents imagined a man, regardless of whether they had a son, a daughter, or both. The probability of thinking of a man for professions such as a scientist or athlete is almost six times higher than thinking of a woman (85% vs 15%) and almost eight times higher when it comes to engineering (89% vs 11%).
The interviewed children share these impressions, with the particularity that girls consider a much wider range of professions than boys. Girls are typically encouraged to participate in more cognitive, artistic and performance-related activities, while boys are encouraged to engage in activities in the fields of technology, digital, science, construction and ingenuity.
Parents in this study were five times more willing to encourage a girl to dance than a boy (81% vs 19%), to dress well (83% vs 17%), and four times more available in activities such as cooking or making cakes (80% vs 20%). In contrast, boys are encouraged to participate in activities involving video games (80% vs 20%) and sports (76% vs 24%) and more than double when it comes to tech toys (71% vs 29%).