The role children's toys and entertainment play in creating gender stereotypes and contributing towards domestic violence
The Greens have initiated a Senate inquiry into the role children's toys and entertainment play in creating gender stereotypes and contributing towards domestic violence. The importance of recognising the link between gender-based toys and domestic violence lies not in identifying its direct effects on the individual, but in understanding how it contributes to cultural norms and ideals which enable violence against women to occur.
Underpinning this is the idea that children should be free to play with whatever toys interest them, rather than only ones that fit the gender stereotypes marketed to them. According to Greens Senator for Women, Larissa Waters, gender inequality shapes and reinforces stereotypes about what men and women can and can't do in the workplace, at home and in the community. It is also the main driver of domestic violence.
The terms of the reference for the inquiry will also include the gender messages sent to children through education and entertainment and the role of gender inequality more broadly in contributing to domestic violence.
The Senate agreed to the inquiry on November 25th without going to a vote. The investigation is due to get underway when Parliament resumes in 2016, with a reporting date of August 2016.
For an engaging article on this topic see: Toy wars’ a year on: we’re finally recognising the role of culture and attitudes in domestic violence