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Lego to remove gender bias from its toys after findings of child survey

Lego

Lego to remove gender bias from its toys after findings of child survey

Lego has announced it will work to remove gender stereotypes from its toys after a global survey the company commissioned found attitudes to play and future careers remain unequal and restrictive.

Researchers found that while girls were becoming more confident and keen to engage in a wide range of activities, the same was not true of boys.

Seventy-one per cent of boys surveyed feared they would be made fun of if they played with what they described as “girls’ toys” – a fear shared by their parents. “Parents are more worried that their sons will be teased than their daughters for playing with toys associated with the other gender,” said Madeline Di Nonno, the chief executive of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, who conducted the research.

“But it’s also that behaviours associated with men are valued more highly in society,” said Di Nonno. “Until societies recognise that behaviours and activities typically associated with women are as valuable or important, parents and children will be tentative to embrace them.”

The study found that parents still encouraged sons to do sports or Stem activities, while daughters were offered dance and dressing up (girls were five times more likely to be encouraged in these activities than boys) or baking (three times more likely to be encouraged).

“These insights emphasise just how ingrained gender biases are across the globe,” said Geena Davis, the Oscar-winning actor and activist who set up the institute in 2004 to combat negative gender stereotyping and foster inclusion.

“There’s asymmetry,” said Prof Gina Rippon, a neurobiologist and author of The Gendered Brain. “We encourage girls to play with ‘boys’ stuff’ but not the other way around.”

This was a problem since toys offered “training opportunities”, she said. “So if girls aren’t playing with Lego or other construction toys, they aren’t developing the spatial skills that will help them in later life. If dolls are being pushed on girls but not boys, then boys are missing out on nurturing skills.”

The Danish toymaker commissioned the report for the UN International Day of the Girl on Monday. It surveyed almost 7,000 parents and children aged six to 14 from China, the Czech Republic, Japan, Poland, Russia, UK and the US.

“We’re working hard to make Lego more inclusive,” said Julia Goldin, the chief product and marketing officer at the Lego Group, the world’s largest toymaker.

Since the start of 2021, the Geena Davis Institute has been auditing Lego and consulting to “address gender bias and harmful stereotypes”, and the company has promised to remove gender bias from its lines.

“Traditionally, Lego has been accessed by more boys, but products like [arts and crafts line] Lego Dots or Lego City Wildlife Rescue Camp have been specifically designed to appeal to boys and girls,” said Goldin. The Lego mandate is now to promote nurturing and caring as well as spatial awareness, creative reasoning and problem solving.

The Let Toys Be Toys campaign was launched in 2012 in the UK to put pressure on children’s brands to expand their marketing and include both genders, so that no boy or girl thinks they are playing with “the wrong toy”. But progress is slow. A 2020 report by the Fawcett Society showed how “lazy stereotyping” and the segregation of toys by gender was fuelling a mental health crisis among young people and limiting perceived career choices.

It is rubbing off on parents, too. The Geena Davis Institute found that parents of both sexes rated men as “more creative”, were six times as likely to think of scientists and athletes as being men rather than women, and more than eight times as likely to think of engineers as men.

Goldin said Lego no longer labelled any of its products “for girls” or “for boys”. On Lego.com consumers cannot search for products by gender. Instead, the website offers themes that it calls “passion points”.

“We’re testing everything on boys and girls, and including more female role models,” said Goldin. The recent Lego Con showcased female designers talking about the work they did, while Lego’s Rebuild the World campaign focuses on girls.

“Our job now is to encourage boys and girls who want to play with sets that may have traditionally been seen as ‘not for them’,” Goldin added.

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Business

DMO Issues Two FGN Savings Bonds At N1,000/unit

The Debt Management Office (DMO) has announced its Dec. issuance of two Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) Savings Bonds at N1,000 per unit.

According to a statement by the DMO, the first offer is a two-year FGN Savings Bond due on Dec. 14, 2022, at an interest rate of 12.255 percent per annum.

The second one is a three-year FGN Savings Bond due on Dec. 14, 2025, at a 13.255 percent interest rate per annum.

It said that the opening date for the issuance of the bonds is Dec.5, the closing date is Dec. 9, the settlement date, is Dec. 14 while coupon payment dates are March 14, June 14, Sept. 14, and Dec. 14.

“They are issued at N1,000 per unit subject to a minimum subscription of N5,000 and in multiples of N1,000 thereafter, subject to a maximum subscription of N50 million.

“Interest is payable quarterly, while bullet repayment is made on the maturity date, ” it said.

It added that FGN savings bonds qualify as securities in which trustees can invest under the Trustee Investment Act.

“They qualify as government securities within the meaning of the Company Income Tax Act and Personal Income Tax Act for tax exemption for pension funds amongst other Investors.

“They are listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and qualify as liquid assets for liquidity ratio calculation for banks,” it said.

The statement said they were backed by the full faith and credit of the Federal Government of Nigeria, and charged upon the general assets of the country.

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Business

DMO Says It has Raised N130bn From Sukuk For Key Road Projects

The Debt Management Office (DMO) says it raised N130 billion from its N100 billion sovereign al ’Ijarah sukuk opened on November 21, 2022.

DMO, in a statement on Monday disclosed that the offer of N100 billion was “upsized to N130 billion due to the over 165 percent subscription level”.

The Sukuk is a strategic initiative that supports infrastructure development, promotes financial inclusion and deepens the domestic securities market.

Since the establishment of the initiative in September 2017, Nigeria has issued four sovereign sukuk: 2017 (N100 billion), 2018 (N100 billion), 2020 (N162.557 billion), and 2021 (N250 billion).

According to the statement, this year’s total sovereign sukuk issuance moved to N742.557 billion.

“The Debt Management Office (DMO) is pleased to inform the public of the successful conclusion of the issuance of N100 billion sovereign al ’ijarah sukuk. The offer for N100 billion opened on November 21, 2022, and was supported by wide public sensitisation to encourage subscription from diverse investors, particularly the retail investors,” the statement reads.

“The initial offer size of N100 billion was upsized to N130 billion due to the over 165 percent subscription level. The Sukuk was issued at a rental rate of 15.64 percent per annum. This brings the total sovereign sukuk issuance to N742.557 billion as at date.”

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CBN Limits Withdrawal To N100,000 Weekly

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday slashed the cash withdrawal by an individual to N100,000 per week by an individual.

The apex bank also fixed N500,000 as the amount a company can withdraw in a week.

By this new policy, account holders can only withdraw a maximum of N100,000 weekly through Automated Teller Machine (ATM), subject to a maximum of N20,000 daily withdrawal.

Under the new policy, which is to take effect from January 9, 2023, the maximum cash withdrawal via Point of Sale (POS) shall also be N20,000 daily.

This was contained in a circular issued by the CBN on Tuesday, signed by director of banking supervision, Haruna Mustafa and addressed to deposit money banks and other financial institutions.

According to the circular, deposit money banks and other financial institutions are also mandated to ensure that over-the-counter cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate entities do not exceed N100,000 and N500,000, respectively, per week.

It further indicated that all cash withdrawals in excess of the stated limits will attract processing fees of 5 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

The new policy also states that third party cheques in excess of N50,000 shall not be eligible for over the counter payment, while extant limits of N10,000,000 on clearing cheques subsist.

“Only denomination of N200 and below shall be loaded into the ATMs.

“In compelling circumstances not exceeding once a month, where cash withdrawals above the prescribed limits is required for legitimate purposes, such cash withdrawals shall not exceed N5,000,000 and N10,000,000 for individuals and corporate organisations respectively, and shall be subject to the references processing fees in (1) above, in addition to enhanced due diligence and further information requirements,” the circular stated.

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