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Toys for children in the future career choice?

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Toys for children in the future career choice?
Issue Time:2017-06-23

Everyone has memories of toys they loved playing with as a child.A government minister says gender-specific toys harm girls' career opportunities. But how much do the toys children play with shape their future prospects in the job market?

It might be building blocks or a train set, a doll house or a tea set.
It doesn't necessarily mean those that played with them grew up to be construction workers or train drivers, housekeepers or tea ladies.

However education minister Elizabeth Truss recently warned children's toys could affect their careers. She said gender-specific toys risked turning girls off science and maths and urged parents to buy their daughters Lego to get them interested in engineering.
Women have made great strides in the UK workforce over the past few decades, but there are still overwhelming gender divides in some professionsJust over 80% of "science, research, engineering and technology professionals" are male, according to ONS figures.By contrast, 82% of workers in "caring, leisure and other services", and 78% of administrative and secretarial workers are female.

Critics say toy marketing exploits gender stereotypes, channelling dolls, cookery sets and pink princesses towards girls, and action men style figurines, construction kits and blue racing cars towards boys.

Feminists and campaign group Let Toys Be Toys have been canvassing UK retailers to "organise toys by genre not gender", saying sexist stereotyping limits children's interests. As a result, some retail giants such as Marks and Spencer, and London toy store Hamleys, have scrapped "girls" and "boys" labels.

Research by retail group Argos found that over 60% of adults working in design-led jobs, such as architects and designers, enjoyed playing with building blocks as children. Even more - 66% - working in maths related roles, such as accountants and bankers, preferred puzzles.

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