Society teaches our children life-limiting stereotypes from the moment they are born. Fawcett has launched an expert Commission on Gender Stereotypes in Early Childhood to build a new consensus on the impact gender stereotypes have and how, together, we can end them.

The Commission will run until 2020. It will gather evidence and promote practical solutions to change childhood and change lives, and explore how gender stereotypes interact with other norms including race and class. We are going to produce research to challenge minds, campaign on the ground, and make this a Government priority.

Support our work today by sharing our research, feeding in to our consultation and donating towards the project.

Why does this matter?

Gender stereotypes strike early. By the time children reach primary school, they have already developed a clear sense of what is expected of boys and girls and how they are supposed to behave.

But we can challenge that. As Cordelia Fine argues: ‘our minds, society and neurosexism create difference. Together they wire gender. But the wiring is soft, not hard. It is flexible, malleable and changeable.’ Studies show that while the environment they are in is crucial in transmitting gender norms to children, they also find that the use of materials which actively challenge traditional gender norms can undo children’s previously held perceptions.

And it is vital that we do. 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.

#SMASHSTEREOTYPES ANIMATION VOICED BY ACTOR AND FAWCETT MEMBER OPHELIA LOVIBOND. ANIMATION CREDIT: MEL LOU

What are we going to do?

Our aim is to change the national conversation, and to put this firmly on policymakers’ agendas.

  • Bring together an expert commission of academics, campaigners, early years educators, parents, politicians and retailers.
  • Collect the evidence that is out there on stereotyping: the scale of the problem, the impact it has, and what we can do to tackle it.
  • Bring together educators and policymakers to talk about how we can tackle stereotypes across the whole of the country.
  • Mobilise our members and supporters to challenge stereotyping in the commercial world.
  • Conduct research with parents to understand how they see the impact of stereotypes; what they want from schools, the shops they buy from, and the media their kids consume; and the support they want to challenge stereotypes.
  • Conduct research with nursery and pre-school workers and leaders to understand how they feel about stereotyping, and how equipped they feel to combat it.
  • Understand and share best practice in nurseries and schools.
  • And finally – make recommendations to Government and other stakeholders.

Support our vital work today

Will you be one of the change-makers to help us challenge stereotypes, change childhood and change lives?

  • Donate £25 today and we will credit your name on the inside cover of our reports for this campaign, in September, December and May 2020
  • Donate £40 to have your name credited, and a physical copy of each report sent to you

We are going to produce research to challenge minds. We are going to share our insights with nurseries and schools. We will bring together a distinguished panel of professionals and campaigners to get the Government to finally act on this critical issue. But to do all this, we need to raise £15,000. Help us make it happen.

Show your support by donating today or becoming a Fawcett member.