White House aims to break down gender stereotypes through toys
WASHINGTON - Have you ever thought about how the toys your children play with might affect their future goals? The White House hosted a conference on Wednesday to look at the very complex issue.
The White House released a statistic about women in the STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering & Math, which shows only 29% of women hold STEM jobs. And on the flip side of that, fewer than 25% of public school teachers and only 9% of nurses are men. And they want to do something about those statistics.
The White House Council on Women and Girls, along with other groups, sponsored a conference on Wednesday at the White House to look at how these numbers can change, by considering how a child's interests, goals and even future careers, might be affected by the media they consume and the toys they play with.
Steven Aarons, the President of a small chain of local toy stores in the area, Barstons Child's Play Toys, discussed the issue.
"I think toys are very important to a child's development. One of the basis's behind what we look at toys, is we think of kids as being a blank canvas and the products that you give them are very important. That is how they're spending their developmental time," explained Steven Aarons, Barstons Child's Play Toys.
Aarons explained it is also about the marketing of toys towards children, showing the issue is more complicated than just giving a child different toys to play with. A mom of two girls shopping opened up about her struggles when choosing toys for her little girls.
"I'm drawn towards gendered toys in some ways because I'm a mother of daughters, even though I don't want to be. And so I'm always pulling myself away and trying to force myself to balance," Mother of two, Malia Stenerson explained. "It's exciting to let your daughter inspire you even, because I said something to my daughter yesterday about the color blue. I was gonna pick out colors for her birthday balloons. And I said, what colors would you like? And she said, I'd like blue. And I said, oh really blue? And she said, yeah mom, I love blue."