I have just posted the following on the Facebook page of Online Toys Australia.

You have some great toys in your range but I won’t be shopping with you as long as you list 234 learning toys for boys and none for girls, and while no science toys of any description are listed for girls.

I adore my nephews and want them to have all the great fun in the world. But I also adore my niece and want her to grow up with all the same learning opportunities.

That’s six gifts a year I could be shipping from your site. And I’m a VERY generous aunt.

Let me know when you have stopped the extreme gender bias on your site and I may reconsider.

I think it’s mad to list toys by gender but I accept that it’s probably a helpful categorisation for many shoppers, but take a look at the difference in toys available.

Girls get Barbie, beauty & jewellery, dolls, food and cooking. I did play with dolls as a child, but I also played with meccano and building blocks. And Lego. In fact I’d still play with Lego given the chance.

Boys get action figures (which are really just dolls with uniforms), model kitss, outdoor toys, toy guns. Stereotypical boys’ toys. Plus 234 “Learning Toys”. Read the text; it’s essentially a “girls keep out” sign.

Learning toys include loads of cool science experiments; bubble science, magnet science and a volcano building kit.

In a world where we need more graduates in Science and Technology why is this manufacturer saying that these toys are not for girls?

I want better than this for my niece. I want better than this for my nephews.

I won’t shop with Online Toys Australia unless they change.


Online Toys Australia responded professionally to my questions and have updated their site so that there is a category under “Girls’ Toys”  called “Science and Education” which has 88 items. I do give them credit for taking this step, and I recognise that re-organising content on a site is a complicated process (more in terms of information architecture and design than the technical aspect).

This is still less than half the learning toys listed for boys, the “Girls keep out” language remains on the boys’ toys page, and boys do not get to have “food and fun” so the site continues to perpetuate gender stereotypes.

However in one of their responses they did say “Listing or copying the entire boys category into the girls category would defeat the purpose of having gender categories. If we were to do this, we would seriously need to ask ourselves why have two identical categories?” So the light may be dawning.


I’ve found a site with great toys and meaningful categories on their site. It’s called Flying Penguin, and they posted this image on twitter explaining how to tell if a toy is for a boy or a girl. They’ve just got a new loyal customer, and my first order was over 200 AUD.


image boys

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