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Press release

BRIO prize for campaign against gender categorisation of toys

Let Toys Be Toys will be awarded the BRIO Prize 2015 in recognition of their outstanding grass roots campaign, designed to persuade retailers and toy manufacturers to stop categorising toys by gender. The prize is awarded on February 3, 2016 by the Lennart Ivarsson fund.

– Let Toys Be Toys has found a way to bring life to a complicated and sometimes dry issue; children and gender expectations. They have shown that with commitment and efficiency you don’t need large amounts of money or fancy technology to make a difference in a modern world, says Dag Ivarsson, Chairman of the Lennart Ivarsson fund.

Label toys by theme or function rather than by gender
The essence of the campaign is embodied in the following quote by Let Toys Be Toys: “Toys are for fun, for learning, for stoking imagination and encouraging creativity. Children should feel free to play with the toys that interest them most. Isn’t it time that shops stopped limiting our children’s imagination by telling them what they ought to play with? The answer is simple – we’re asking retailers and manufacturers to sort and label toys by theme or function, rather than by gender, and let the children decide which toys they enjoy best. Let toys be toys – for girls and boys.” 

– For us it’s obvious that children should be able to play freely without limiting gender boundaries. It’s an important part of our toy philosophy and our Swedish heritage. We support Let Toys Be Toys and we are happy to see the impact they have had across the industry, says Sophie Elvefors, Commercial Director at BRIO.

This is the 23rd year that the BRIO Prize is being awarded, to either a prominent researcher in the field of children and young adults or a charitable organisation performing important work for the benefit of children and/or young people.

BRIO Prize winners 1992-2014
2014 Professor Michel Manson, University of Paris 13.
2013 Sudarshan Khanna, Ph.D, National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India
2012 David Whitebread, Ph.D, University of Cambridge, England
2011 Minna Ruckenstein, Ph.D, National Consumer Research Centre, Helsinki, Finland
2010 The Swedish Guide and Scout Council’s project Operation One World, Sweden
2009 Gisela Wegener-Spöhring, Ph.D University of Cologne, Germany
2008 Save the Children Alliance
2006/07 David Elkind, Ph.D, Taft University, USA
2005 Cleo Gougoulis, Ph.D, Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation, Athens, Greece
2004 Jean-Pierre Rossie, Ph.D, Ghent University, Belgium
2003 Sweden ́s Child and Play Therapist ́s Association, Stockholm, Sweden
2002 Gilles Brougère, Ph.D, University of Paris 13, France
2001 Jeffrey H Goldstein, Ph.D, Utrecht University, Netherlands
2000 Senior researcher B.A. Jörn Martin Steenhold, Copenhagen, Denmark
1999 Professor Dongju Shin, EHWA Womens University, Seoul, South Korea
1998 Nordic Center for Research on toys, NCFL, University of Halmstad, Sweden
1997 Organisation Spiel Gut, Ulm, Germany
1996 Stephen Kline, Ph.D, Simon Fraser University B.C., Canada
1995 Waltraut Hartmann, Ph.D, University of Vienna, Austria
1994 The Swedish Montessori Association
1993 Brian Sutton-Smith, Ph.D, University of Pennsylvania, USA
1992 Birgitta Almqvist, Ph.D, University of Uppsala, Sweden

Further information
For further information and enquiries, please contact:
Dag Ivarsson, Chairman of Lennart Ivarssons fund
Tel. +46 705 17 29 10
Francisca Kertzscher, Marketing Manager, BRIO AB
Tel. +46 702 01 53 97

About BRIO
For over a century, our driving force has been to spread joy among children around the world. We want to create happy childhood memories where the imagination is allowed to flow freely. BRIO is a Swedish toy brand that creates innovative, high-quality and well-designed wooden toys that give children a safe and fun play experience. The company was founded in 1884 and is represented in over 30 countries. For more information, please visit www.brio.net

About Let Toys Be Toys
Let Toys Be Toys is a UK volunteer-run grassroots campaign designed to persuade retailers to stop categorising toys by gender. In other words, they believe footballs and building blocks should not be labelled as toys for boys, and fairy costumes and dolls should not be labelled as toys for girls.

Let toys be toysIt was started by a group of parents via a thread on the parenting on-line discussion forum Mumsnet. The campaign was officially launched in November 2012. Shortly afterwards, volunteer mystery shoppers from the campaign visited various retailers to gather information about how they were promoting toys; this was then used to highlight the issue, and to decide which should be targeted by the campaign.

A repeat survey in December 2013 showed a 60% drop in the use of ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ signs in stores. To date 14 major UK retailers, including ToysRUs, Debenhams and Tesco, have committed to stop using these signs.

Just as importantly, the group has helped get people talking about the problems of gender stereotypes in marketing to children.

In 2014, the group launched a Let Books Be Books campaign; to date nine publishers, including Usborne, Scholastic and Random House Group, have said they will no longer publish books labelled ‘for boys’ or ‘for girls’.

Read more at: http://www.lettoysbetoys.org.uk/