Bridging The Gender Pay Gap Through Early Years Play

March 01, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
Women earn between 18% and 40% less than their male colleagues for equivalent work according to the Women and Work Group. Bad career advice at school is thought to be among the causes, but do we need to look earlier in life than this? Do we need to examine early years play?

Many of the toys aimed at preschoolers and beyond are strongly gender stereotyped. Lots of creative play items themed around the home are pink in colour - earmarking ironing, cooking and caring for children as roles for girls. Similarly most construction kits are for cars or other vehicles and come in strong primary colours, the message is 'making things is for boys'.

We need to counterbalance this stereotyping to encourage girls to explore areas of play they traditionally feel less comfortable with or excluded from. At we have tried hard to present a range of toys in which many appeal equally to girls and boys.

Producing typically boy oriented toys in girly colours can create interest in a different type of toy. Geomag have pioneered this approach with a best selling Pastelle versions of their award winning magnetic construction toy which has the same pieces as other Geomag sets in a selection of pastel shades. They are taking this a step further with their Just Pinks range which comes in a single colour - shocking pink! Other manufacturers are now following suit - K'Nex have brought out a range of Pink Kid K'Nex Princesses and Pixies.

An alternative is to choose a toy which has been designed to avoid stereotyping. Taking away the hard edges to give a softer feel, using a more neutral colour scheme and giving less macho examples for use are all ways to achieve this. Zoob is one example - a great construction toy with an organic feel in a range of bright colours. It comes with instructions for a range of models from dinosaurs and UFOs to crowns and handbags, and all of the completed models are moveable to encourage creative play. Another example is Automoblox, a wooden car construction set, the lines are soft and organic, the colours for the polycarbonate screens and tyres include purples and yellows and the focus on the passengers and open ended play again encourages girls to take more of an interest.

It is possible to look for a an introduction to an area that can be built upon to overcome gender differences. Kidzlabs produce a great line of Science Museum endorsed kits. The Volcano making kit and the Night Sky kits are perhaps a better first step for a girl than the Cosmic Rocket or Intruder Alarm. is an on-line educational toy store which selects great fun toys that have educational benefits. Our main aim is to allow children to enjoy playing with their toys whilst also learning or developing key skills. You can visit the store at and all of the toys mentioned in the article can be found there.

For questions, further background information or print quality images please contact or call 087 087 45437

For more information on any of the toys in the article see the following URLs:
For K'Nex see
For Geomag see
For Zoob see
For Automoblox see
For Kidzlabs see