Tesco has defended its decision to label a children’s chemistry set a boys’ toy, despite criticism from gender equality campaigners.
Campaigners from Let Toys Be Toys, an online pressure group that is calling on retailers not to limit children’s development by promoting separate “boys’” and “girls’” toys, said that Tesco’s labelling of its “Action Science Chemistry Set” was sexist.
A Tesco spokesman responded on Twitter: “Toy signage is currently based on research and how our customers tell us they like to shop in our stores” adding that “further research” would be commissioned later in the year to ensure “an up-to-date reflection of customers’ thinking”.
Last week Boots agreed to remove in-store signs advertising different toys for boys and for girls following pressure on social media from the Let Toys Be Toys group. The shop admitted it had been “wrong” to categorise toys from the Science Museum as boys’ toys.
A Let Toys Be Toys spokesman challenged Tesco’s position on Twitter, writing: “Can you imagine if we took yr approach in schools: that science was just for boys & we shouldn’t bother teaching it to girls?”
The campaign group tweeted a picture comparing the chemistry set, which is advertised for boys aged 9 to 12, with a pink, Hotpoint Toy Cooker that is categorised as a girls’ toy.
It is common for retailers to advertise separate boys’ and girls’ toys but the practice has come under increasing amounts of criticism from those who say its limits children’s social development along gender lines.