نوع : مقاله
ناشر : COFACE
نوع فایل : PDF
زبان : انگلیسی
صفحه : 44

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Each child is born without stereotypes and predefined (gender) roles. But early in life, cultural and societal norms play an important role in the assignment of stereotypes. Since 2016, when COFACE Families Europe published a European study on toy catalogues “Making or breaking stereotypes?”, COFACE Families Europe runs an annual social media campaign on Toys and Diversity to promote equal opportunities and to highlight gender, disability and ethnic stereotypes in toy production, marketing and shops. This successful campaign has raised awareness among toy producers, advertisers, retailers and consumers about the need for toy diversity as a reflection of the pluralism of society
On the basis of our 2016 study of Toy catalogues, COFACE Families Europe developed six key principles with a view to raising awareness of our key concerns in relation to toys and diversity
The headline principles are the following
Let children decide what they want to play with: No more division into boys and girls sections
Do not channel children into stereotyped professions and life patterns: Let them play to be whomever they want to be.
Join your voice to end gender-based violence and bullying: promote nonviolent images and behaviours
Represent families in their diversity
Children with disabilities play too: stop their invisibility and include them in the toy world
Children with a diverse racial background: let’s move to a fair representation

In 2019, COFACE Families Europe decided to collect the stories of families and beyond in Europe, to explore what determines and influences their choices when they buy toys. On the 20th of November 2019, Universal Children’s Day, we symbolically launched “Toy Stories”, the first Europe-wide survey on Toys and Diversity, developed and translated by COFACE members into 13 languages. The data collection took place until Christmas Day. The survey gathered more than 2,000 answers from all EU Member States and beyond. However, this representation is unequally shared, as almost 90% of respondents come from ten countries. A large majority of respondents were women (85%) and, in terms of age, 60% of respondents were between 26 and 45 years old. The survey, which contains some 20 questions, aims to analyse specific issues pertaining to the world of toys such as how consumers/buyers are confronted when purchasing toys, the way toy shops are organised and how this is perceived by consumers, and the role of media and marketing on toys. Last but not least, the survey included questions on potential solutions and remaining challenges in relation to toys
This report is not and does not pretend to be a scientific one. COFACE Families Europe aims through this report to keep its finger on the pulse of society, and to give respondents the chance to express their beliefs, even if they do not match COFACE ones. The broad range of countries and age range means that the responses are very diverse and rich in nature with a pluralism of opinions as in any democratic society. Some specific findings of the survey include the following:
Toy consumption is mainly for and linked to the family environment (parents, grandparents, relatives, friends). Half of the respondents declare themselves parents of the children they mostly buy toys for. The second most chosen option in the survey regarding the relationship is the relative (sibling, uncle, cousin) with almost 30% of the respondents. Furthermore, some respondents also use toys in a professional setting (teachers, physiotherapists, psychologists, etc.);
A fourth of the respondents declare buying toys either often or very often. The trend is the same by gender but not by age: younger generations tend to buy more often toys than older ones. Almost 30% of the respondents below 46 years old declare to often or very often buy toys while only a fifth of the respondents who are above 46 years old declare to do so;
When buying a toy, few respondents think in terms of the gender, that is, people do not buy toys for boys or toys for girls: less than 5% of the respondents considered this option as an influence when buying a toy. For respondents, their first influence when buying a toy, is the child’s preference (80%), followed by the price (40%);
However, the results of the survey indicate that some stereotypes still prevail regarding the gender of the child. In other words, some toys are still considered more “suitable” depending on the gender of the child (eg: a tractor for boys and a Barbie doll for girls), and that, irrespective of the gender and the age of the respondents. However, the answers of the survey indicate that stereotypes linked to toys seem to prevail more for boys than for girls: the results indicate a tendency towards thinking it is more “acceptable” seeing a girl wanting a toy from a “boy section” than a boy wanting a toy from a “girl sectio

 The survey reveals the potential of toys to promote respect of disability and ethnic diversity in society. First of all, more than four-fifths of the respondents either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” with the idea that making children with disabilities visible in toy adverts and producing more toys adapted to their needs could change the way society looks at them. Then, almost 95% of the
respondents of the survey declared not having whatsoever inconvenience if their child/grandchild etc. would receive a doll or figurine of a different ethnic background;
Regarding toy shop organisation, boy and girl sections in toy shops are not helpful for the majority of respondents. Almost two-thirds of the respondents considered that the “boys and girls” sections of toy shops are not useful. What’s more, two out five respondents considered that this organisation is useless;
On toy marketing, a majority of respondents believe that advertising reinforces stereotypes and that more neutral and inclusive advertising would reduce stereotypes. First of all, nine out of ten respondents either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that toy advertising accentuates stereotypes. Then, 80% respondents do consider that more neutral toys and toy advertising would reduce stereotypes, but women and younger respondents to a higher degree than men and older respondents;
Last, but not least, respondents considered that the awareness of the family (65%) and more neutral and inclusive marketing of toys (65%) are key for promoting inclusive toys. On the other hand, there is broad consensus among respondents on the main barriers to the acceptance of inclusive toys, which are a mix of internal and external influences: society (61%), media and advertisers (56%)
Each of us has responsibilities to drive change. COFACE Families Europe encourages the parents and families, the different professionals, the public administrations, the industry, the unions, the NGOs, etc., to take stock of these findings, reinforce mutual learning, best practices and collaboration, and help promoting equal opportunities for boys and girls.

Inspired by the “Toy stories” of so many people and by this report, COFACE Families Europe will continue raising awareness on Toys and Diversity, in an open and continuous dialogue with families and all the concerned partners. Equality starts in childhood, and toys and advertising play a great part in this

 

Table of contents

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND TO THE SURVEY
II. WHO RESPONDED TO THE SURVEY
THE PROFILE OF THE RESPONDENTS
All EU countries participated in the survey, but some more than others
Gender and age of the respondents
Toy consumption mainly for and linked to the family environment, but not only
III. ATTITUDES, CONCERNS AND PERCEPTIONS OF TOYS AND
STEREOTYPES
At first sight, the gender of the children is not something to think about for the
respondents when purchasing a toy
but some stereotypes still prevail regarding the gender of the child
Towards more “inclusive» thinking in toys?
IV. TOY SHOP ORGANISATION: IS THERE A NEED FOR MORE
DIVERSITY?
Boy and girl sections in shops are not helpful for the majority of respondents
but, once again, some stereotypes prevail regarding the gender of the child
V. TOY MARKETING: LOOKING AT STEREOTYPES AND BEYOND 26
Majority believes advertising reinforces stereotypes
Toys and disability: could more equal representation further boost inclusion
VI. LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS
CHALLENGES, AND A WORLD WHERE TOYS ARE NEUTRAL
AND REFLECT THE DIVERSITY OF SOCIETY
Shared responsibility for promoting inclusive toys and reduce stereotypes
Broad consensus on the key barriers to the acceptance of inclusive toys: a mix of internal and external influences
If toys were neutral and reflect the diversity of society, what would be the impact on children
ANNEX – SURVEY QUESTIONS

 

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