Gender Neutral Toys and Games that Inspire Entrepreneurship in Girls
Posted 7 months ago
The world grows more 'woke', and the underlying sexism in the toy manufacturing industry has slowly been brought to light. It was noticed that gender roles are often reinforced through sexist designing, advertising and displaying of toys; through the stubborn division of most toy stores into 'blue for boys' and 'pink for girls.' While this, of course, is undeniably problematic, the insistence of gifting dolls to girls and almost everything else to boys (from car games to nerf guns) is an enduring tradition that most parents still abide by, not knowing that they are subconsciously minimising their daughters' worlds to a fraction of what they could be. However, the quiet rise of gender neutral toys of late has evened the playing field by introducing puzzles, board games and fun ideas to inspire little girls to venture into worlds they previously thought were confined to men. Many such toys have been seen to nudge children towards entrepreneurship, whether boys or girls.
1. Entrepreneur Dolls
Charlotte Benjamin's open letter to Lego marked an awakening within the toy industry. The letter questioned the famous company over its decision to create exciting builder sets for boys, and tame, boring ones for girls, that reinforced gender identities in a hugely problematic way. Although directly addressed to Lego, the letter affected most major toy companies, who took the hint and began attempting to bridge the gap between toys specifically for boys or girls. Mattel, the creator of Barbie, branched out and created various avatars for the popular doll, including an Entrepreneur Barbie. While this decision generated backlash from some, some sections praised the move, saying 'you can't be what you can't see.'
In more recent news, for the celebration of International Women’s Day, Mattel has launched the ‘Shero’doll, fashioned after activist and model Adwoa Aboah is another example of how toymakers are recognising the need to have positive role-model toys for children.
2. Money Management Games
Monopoly and the Game of Life are cult favourites; classic games that never go out of fashion. The beauty of these games, however, isn't just in the healthy competition they promote during family bonding sessions, but also in how easily they teach children skills like money management, financial negotiation, investing and real estate, as well as simple mathematical skills that'll not only expose them to these necessary things early on in life, but also help them develop certain skills that are fundamental in a good entrepreneur. These games are manufactured in gender neutral ways, and are a great gift for girls to hone talent they might not know they had.
3. Shopkeeping Games
Playing 'shopkeeper' and 'customer' is another age old game played by nearly every child of every generation. This game, apart from being an excellent pastime, has unknowingly taught children basic entrepreneurial skills like pricing, advertising and profit making. A game that takes this further, especially for girls, is the lemonade stand kit, one that can be bought off Amazon or simply created at home. All you need to give your child is a recipe, ingredients and basic instructions, and off they go, learning business skills in the most enjoyable way possible.
4. IQ Games and Puzzles
While this may not be an obvious choice for promoting business skills in girls, puzzle-solving toys like the Rubik's Cube, as well as countless other puzzles and riddles, are great for promoting skills like creative thinking, problem solving and patience. The best part about these games is that they are rarely ever packaged to target specifically boys or girls, and make for good presents for both.
Although gifting a young girl a doll may be your first instinct, it'd be wise to reconsider. Women are finding more and more success in male-dominated fields, but to encourage more of them to enter the world of entrepreneurship, starting them young might be the solution to levelling the playing field once and for all.