The Greens have established a federal Senate committee to investigate the role children’s toys and entertainment play in fostering gender stereotypes and domestic violence.
Greens senator Larissa Waters, who co-sponsored the inquiry, said in a press release that research showed rigid gender stereotypes, reinforced by gendered marketing, correlated with high rates of domestic violence. “Gender inequality pervades our daily lives. It sets rigid stereotypes about what men and women can and can’t do in the workplace, at home and in the community.
“These stereotypes are communicated to children from an early age, including through the marketing of toys as just ‘for boys’ or just ‘for girls’.
“This isn’t about certain toys being off limits. It’s about children being free to play with whatever toys interest them, rather than only ones that fit the gender stereotypes marketed to children.
The inquiry will look at the messages conveyed to young people about gender stereotypes and the cultural conditions that support domestic violence through entertainment and education.
“It’s about children being free to play with whatever toys interest them,” Waters said.
The motion passed the Senate on Wednesday unopposed by both major parties. The investigation is due to start when Parliament resumes in 2016, with a reporting date of August.