Today at the White House, the White House Council on Women and Girls – in partnership with the Department of Education and the Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative at the University of Southern California – is hosting a conference where we will bring together executives from America’s leading toy, media, and retail companies; parents; advocates; academics; and leaders of youth organizations to talk about breaking down gender stereotypes in children’s media and toys. This is one of a number of events we’re hosting in the lead-up to the White House’s United State of Women Summit that will take place next month in Washington.
Experts will present the latest research on children’s media and toys – and we’ll hear about best practices from companies that are doing some of the most creative, innovative, and successful work to create products and media that encourage all children to explore, learn, and dream without limits.
We’re hosting the Conference because we know that the TV, movies, and videos that kids watch, and the toys with which they play, can have a real impact on the skills they develop and their aspirations. This impact goes beyond child development. This affects the quality of our workforce, and has the potential to affect our economy for decades to come.
Right now, the fastest-growing jobs in America are in the most gender-segregated industries. For example, companies are desperately seeking employees to fill high-skill, high-wage STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) positions – yet women hold only 29 percent of STEM jobs. And while nursing is one of the fastest-growing professions, only nine percent of nurses are men.
In order to close these gaps, we need to ensure that our children’s ambitions are no longer arbitrarily limited by outdated ideas about what boys and girls can and should do. That’s why I am thrilled that so many of the companies and organizations at today’s conference are on the frontlines of developing programming and products that challenge old stereotypes and encourage all of our young people to pursue their passions and interests without regard to their gender. As part of this event, a number of these companies and organizations have stepped up to make commitments to expand their efforts – you can read more about them in this factsheet.
We hope this day provides both the information – and the inspiration – for further efforts like these, and we’re looking forward to a lively and productive discussion.