The Fawcett Society, a charity that campaigns for gender equality, is looking for publisher input into a new study into gender stereotypes in early childhood.
The commission, which will run until July 2020, was launched to try and change the fact that children already have an idea, they say, of what is expected of boys and girls by the time they reach primary school.
"Research shows that by the age of seven girls’ and boys’ aspirations are so often limited by stereotyping, with too few girls believing the full range of careers are open to them—and too many boys unable to express their emotions,” said Andrew Bazeley, policy and insight manager. “The gender norms society promotes can also undermine dads as carers for children and tell girls that their appearance and body image matter more than anything else… To create a lasting legacy, we need to free young people from restrictive gender stereotypes and create a better, more productive society.”
The Fawcett Society will look at gender stereotypes in zero to seven year-olds by drawing on a body of research, including a literature review, a poll of teachers and parents, and will conduct focus groups with parents, retailers and marketers.
Usborne and Pearson are already taking part in the commission but the society is also keen to hear from people who work in publishing about the issues they experience. Bazeley said they want to understand how stereotypes are transmitted, what parents want to change, and what strategies businesses and policymakers can put in place to make those changes.
“We will be talking to retailers and publishers to understand the challenges they face in countering those norms in their work. By bringing the two together, we want to make the business case for change clear,” he said.
They are also working with representatives from the media and toy and clothes businesses.
Publishers who want to take part in the project can email Andrew.firstname.lastname@example.org.