IT'S ONLY HALF THE TOY STORY
While "Toying with Changes in Gender Marketing" (https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/toy-sellers-step-gingerly-into-debate-over-gender-specific-labeling/2015/12/04/e67ef404-9a07-11e5-94f0-9eeaff906ef3_story.html) made some important points regarding antiquated gender stereotyping and toys, it missed some significant trends that are shaping the world which we play and live in today. It is important that toy companies now acknowledge their impact on how children see their roles in society. However, gender neutrality is not the answer. The article highlights Legos' use of anthropology-style research which supports this finding. Just having girls use toys developed for boys does not reflect gender equity. Rather, it promotes a biased environment where technology and innovation developed for male consumers is given a cosmetic change and now branded for female consumers.
It's time for the iGIANT program which stands for the "Impact of Gender/Sex on Innovation and Novel Technologies". I launched this program in July 2015 with roundtables at the Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health. The goal of the iGIANT program is to accelerate the translation of research into sex/gender-specific design elements such as a product, program, policy or protocol for the health care, IT, transportation and retail sectors.
Through iGIANT roundtables, summits and innovation prizes, differences between male and female bodies are highlighted so that technology and innovation which surrounds our lives are designed to meet our needs. It's time to develop gender/sex-specific design elements which can improve work performance and the safety and quality of our lives. Designing a gender-specific toy based on science would not just be clever marketing, but a step towards real gender equity.