Stereotyping occurs when a person ascribes the collective characteristics associated with a particular group to every member of that group, thereby discounting individual characteristics.

Attributing toys to girls or boys based on traditional activities enjoyed by each group is an example of this kind of stereotyping.

Giving Lego or Meccano sets to boys, and dolls to girls, will help to cement gender stereotypes. It will also shape the long-term attitudes and ambitions of the children playing with these toys. For more information on how toys affect gender roles see the Let Toys Be Toys website.

Other stereotypes might be around the types of job a man or women will enjoy or be suited to. The imbalance in gender diversity in STEM is in large part the result of these stereotypes. When asked to draw a scientist most people draw a man with wild hair, glasses and a test tube. This stereotype is a barrier for women pursuing a career in the sciences.