An End to Gender Segmentation: Raising Children the Gender Neutral Way

Across the world, girls and boys are held back by stereotyped expectations of their gender. As attitudes shift, gender roles change and initiatives target girls to encourage them to develop in non-traditional areas, how is this impacting demand for children’s products? Euromonitor International new strategy briefing “An End to Gender Segmentation: Raising Children the Gender Neutral Way” looks at global change—or a lack of change—in gender expectations for children, and examines the extent to which this is influencing toys, clothes and toiletries.

Life Priorities: Mums vs. Dads

At global level, there is little difference between the life priorities of fathers and mothers, with both considering family relationships the primary factor in happiness, followed by financial security. What is significant, however, is that mothers strongly prioritise the time they spend with their children over the time spent with their partner, while for fathers, these priorities are switched. This indicates that while fathers are heavily engaged with their role as father, this still doesn’t run as deep as a woman’s role as mother.

There is vast cultural gaps in mothers’ vs fathers’ roles

  • Italy was the only market where men ranked time with children higher than women, but both sexes scored low here, at 8-9%.
  • Australia has shown the most notable disparity in gender roles for child care was with 41% of mothers consider time with their children to be their number one priority, while only 16% of fathers feel the same way. This indicates an extreme gender unbalance in child care.
  • Japan and the US also showed a strong bias towards women taking a much stronger interest in child care than men.
  • UK was the country that has shown the strongest interest in spending time with children was seen among mothers, with 43% of respondents claimed this was the biggest factor in happiness for them.

There is massive gender discrepancy in home cooking

  • China shows the most equal balance of men to women cooking.
  • Also of note are France and the US. Here, 15% and 22% of men, respectively, claim to cook every day.
  • Dads also cook with notable frequency in Poland, although they lag a long way behind mothers. Here, 28% of fathers claim to prepare a meal every day.
  • In Japan, a stunning 72% of mothers said that they cook a meal every day, the highest response of all.

Market Impact of Gender Neutrality: The trouble with dolls

The gender segmentation of children’s products is strongly apparent and even sought after by parents and children, particularly in developing markets and where traditional gender roles stand firm. Dolls, in particularly, are a traditional girl’s toy and are seen as a vehicle for girls to role-play their aspirations and dreams for adulthood. Traditionally, dolls have showcased a very limited view of womanhood, centred on appearance and relationships. Where dolls are seen to have an active work / hobby life, these are typically “soft”, caring areas. Thus, the movement towards de-codifying gender is at an early stage of development.

Top 5 Countries: Per Capita Retail Value Sales of Dolls and Accessories in 2016

A Shift towards gender-coded toiletries

Children’s toiletries remain heavily gender-coded even in developed markets, with young children’s products split into blues and pinks, and even products for teens delineated by masculine colours such as steel blue, compared to softer, more feminine colours for girls. In developing markets, there is a strong trend towards more gender specificity in this category, rather than less. This is seen as a way to segment the market, add value and appeal to “pester power.

Top 5 Countries: Per Capita Retail Value Sales of Baby and Children-Specific Toiletries in 2016

 

To find out more, download our free report: http://go.euromonitor.com/strategy-briefing-lifestyles-2018-end-to-gender-segmentation.html