Blog Article | 1 November 2016

Let Toys Be Toys campaign joins UK SAYS NO MORE

We’re so thrilled to partner with the Let Toys Be Toys campaign, a movement seeking to end the gendered marketing of toys and books to children.

The campaign promotes gender equality and believes that by ending the often stereotype-led marketing and advertising techniques of products towards children, we can better encourage children to follow their own paths and not feel limited by any rigid ideas of gender. Find out more from them:

Let Toys Be Toys is a parent led campaign that asks the toy and publishing industries to stop promoting some toys and books as only suitable for girls, and others only for boys. We think dividing toys into separate boys’ and girls’ sections encourages belief in harmful gender stereotypes. We want children to feel free to discover their own interests.

Let Toys Be Toys campaign joins UK SAYS NO MORE

Children form beliefs about gender at a very young age and absorb messages about what girls and boys are ‘supposed to like’. These ‘rules’ can turn them away from their true preferences, and encourage bullying. Research shows that primary school children already have very clear ideas about the jobs that are suitable for boys and girls; ideas that are very hard to shake later on.

We believe the stereotypes seen in toy marketing connect with the inequalities of adult life. Girls are discouraged from pursuing interests in science, engineering and technology, reflected in the under-representation of women in STEM courses and careers, while themes of glamour and beauty directed at even the youngest girls encourage an overwhelming focus on appearance.

Stereotyped attitudes about boys are equally harmful. The constant assumption reinforced in toy advertising and packaging that boys are rough, dirty, interested only in action and violence feeds low expectations that undermine their performance at school and tells sensitive or creative boys that they’re not ‘proper’ boys. It also encourages a ‘boys will be boys’ culture where aggression is acceptable and derogatory attitudes towards girls thrive.

Let Toys Be Toys is run entirely by volunteers who do this because we think it matters. Since the start of our campaign fourteen major UK retailers have agreed to make changes to shops, labels and websites and ten publishers have said they will no longer publish new titles labelled boys or girls.

You can find out more about the campaign and its achievements so far here and how you can help.

Interested in becoming a partner of UK SAYS NO MORE?

We’d love to hear from you, please get in touch with Lyndsey Dearlove, Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Partnership Manager.

You can contact Lyndsey by email at or by phone at 020 7378 3170.

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