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Combatting Gender Stereotypes: Empowering Girls And Women With Jodi Bondi Norgaard

NWB 72 | Combat Gender Stereotypes

 

From the moment we are born, society has already boxed us within a certain gender stereotype. You can see this manifest sharply in the toy aisle, where toys are gendered for boys and girls. An eye-opening trip in a toy store led our guest in this episode to take a deeper look into how traditional gender roles are ingrained in us from a very young age. Rosie Zilinskas interviews Jodi Bondi Norgaard, a speaker, thought leader, consultant, and author of the forthcoming book, MORE THAN A DOLL: How Creating a New Brand of Sports Dolls Turned into a Fight to End GENDER STEREOTYPES. Jodi shares with us her journey towards creating her company, Dream Big Toy Company, where she is combatting gender stereotypes and toys. She sheds light on the importance of challenging societal norms and advocating for gender equality, from the confines of your homes and beyond. So tune in and be empowered to take on the world as Jodi bravely uses her voice to create change.

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Combatting Gender Stereotypes: Empowering Girls And Women With Jodi Bondi Norgaard

I am over the moon to have our guest, Jodi Bondi Norgaard. Jody and I spoke at the Women In Insurance Conference together back in March 2023. When I heard her speak, I knew that I had to have her on my show. Jody is going to talk about her journey toward creating a company that challenges traditional gender roles in toys. She’s going to talk to us about an eye-opening moment in a toy store that led her down a path that she was not expecting.

 

Jodi is going to shed some light on the importance of challenging societal norms and advocating for gender equality. She is an entrepreneur, author, keynote speaker, feminist advocate, and expert in creating change in breaking gender stereotypes. Her forthcoming book More Than A Doll makes the case that gender stereotypes in childhood are more destructive than our culture perceives and in fact, stand in the way of gender equality. If you have young children at home, I urge and encourage you to please tune in to this episode because it is absolutely eye-opening. With that, stay tuned for my conversation with Jody.

 

 

Jody, I’m excited to have you on. Are you doing okay?

 

I am doing well. How about you?

 

I am doing fabulous. I am looking forward to our conversation because we’re both speaking at the Women In Insurance Conference. When I heard you speak, I thought to myself, “I have to have Jody on,” because one of the things that I talk about is the lack of confidence that women have as they’re entering the workforce. I have done some research myself knowing that it doesn’t start when the young women are in college or high school.

 

It starts way earlier. When I heard you speak, I’m like, “We need to have this conversation,” because your journey started by going to buy a toy. Let’s start there. How did you start your journey? You are trying to make sure that we have gender equality, and that’s what I am all about. Let’s start with your story. Tell us the story about the toy.

 

I always had these gender issues on my radar. Like many of us, you see it and you are like, “I’m not sure what I can do about it.” Now, you just move through life. This is the way it is. It bums me out. It makes me angry, but I don’t know what I’m going to do about it until I had this a-ha moment in the toy store. My daughter is with me and she had gotten done playing soccer. She’s dressed in her soccer uniform. Her hair is in all crazy messy pigtails. She has rosy cheese from exertion and she has her cleats on. I always tell this story because I want people to know she looked like a normal kid on a Saturday afternoon. That’s what I’m trying to describe.

 

We’re going into the toy store because she needed a wrapped gift for a party she was attending in 30 minutes. Parents all know that panic feeling like, “I’m going to get this done, but I need to do it fast.” She’s running behind me. We were going up and down the toy aisle when a line of dolls stopped me in my tracks. They had on short skirts, crop tops, belly button rings, big hair, and lots of makeup. I picked up one of the dolls. I look at my daughter. I opened the hang tag and the name on the hang tag is Lovely Lola.

 

At that moment, I knew there wasn’t one parent out there that wanted their daughter to look act or be called Lovely Lola. I decided to do something about it, and I did. I bought the doll. I have it in my drawer. I decided, “What are we marketing to our girls? This is awful. This is horrible.” I bought the doll. I’m scolding all the salespeople saying, “This is not a good doll for girls. It’s sexy. We should not be marketing sexy girls. The lady is sixteen.” My daughter is running behind me saying, “Is that the doll for Maddie? Is that her birthday gift?” I’m like, “No, I’m buying it to show dad. I need to show dad.” That was the story.

 

That’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s all these things throughout my life that kept adding up. When I had my three kids, my daughter being in the middle and being nine at the time, I was like, “I’m done. I got to do something because I don’t want her or my boys to grow up in this world where she has to work twice as hard as they do in her career, job, and in anything in life. Our starting line is that much further behind.”

 

For our audience, Jody pulled out a doll. The doll has red lipstick on, long blonde wavy hair, and a frilly sweater. I have two children. When my daughter was 3, 4, or 5, I would buy those dolls because there weren’t any other alternatives. She’s like, “This one.” I have those vivid moments in the toy aisle and you’re like, “Is this all there is?” Kudos to you for following through and making a difference. From that incident, I know that it took you some time to create the Go! Go! Sports Girls line. Tell me about how you came up with that concept because you’re focusing on sports girls.

 

The name of my company was Dream Big Toy Company. My thought was it was an umbrella. Underneath Dream Big Toy Company, I would have Go! Go! Sports Girls, Go! Go! Sports Boys, Music Girl, Music Boy, Cooking Girl. It was all about embracing a child’s interest because we’re all complicated and diverse in such a beautiful way that I saw how we pigeonhole kids into being a certain way, masculine, top football players, girls don’t get dirty, be sweet and kind, and raise your hand when you want to speak.

 

That was the model of my business, but I had to start somewhere. I had always been involved in sports my entire life. I was never great at anything, but I always was pretty good at everything and I enjoyed it. It was like my meditation. When I’d go run, I’d realize I’d come home. I was a better mom, wife, and friend. I liked myself better. I cleared my head. I saw the benefits of exercise, not only physically, but mentally too.

 

I decided to start with the sports stalls. At the time, I was coaching a program Called Girls On The Run, which is an amazing program, and saw the positive impact on the girls with this running program. I didn’t know anything about designing, marketing, shipping, and manufacturing. I did have to learn how to do it all. I asked a lot of questions. I had to. I called people all the time. Sometimes it gets hard, but you need to know, “What’s my next step?” If I don’t ask somebody, I don’t know.

 

I needed connections. I needed to ask. It did take two years from the rough draft to the debut of the first doll. it took a long time. I used my daughter as my measuring tool because I could measure her arm wing span, the length of her legs, and the size of her torso. I shrunk it down. I was very adamant about it that it was going to be an incorrect proportion to a little girl’s body. I cannot tell you how many times toy buyers came up to me and said, “The doll’s legs need to be longer and they need to be blonder.” I’m like, “This is what I’m doing. This is an incorrect proportion for a little girl. Their legs are not going to be longer and their hair is going to be all different colors.”

 

I am interested in unpacking everything that you’ve learned about that. You’re an author, but you have a forthcoming book that is called More Than Doll. That is more we’re uncovering gender stereotypes. When I see women in the corporate world, having 31 years of experience in the corporate world and being an executive vice president, I see many women holding back. Essentially, they’re unknowingly sabotaging their careers by not asking questions and speaking up. That goes all the way back. Can you talk to me a little bit about what you have experienced, what you have witnessed, and a little bit about your forthcoming book?

 

What I have realized throughout my journey is that the programming starts early and the impact is lifelong. We are programmed to be the good little girl. Going back to elementary school, I was told that my kindness, inclusion of others, and thoughtfulness were my strength. My teachers relied upon me. I was that good little girl that sat there and I helped out. As I got older, I was told that my kindness that I was told was my strength, and my compassion toward others was my weakness. I was going to get eaten up and chewed out in the corporate world if I decided to go into business. It was shocking to me because I’m like, “I’m nice and kind, but I’m not a pushover. I could stand up for myself.”

NWB 72 | Combat Gender Stereotypes
Combat Gender Stereotypes: The stereotype, the programming, starts early, and the impact is lifelong.

 

It doesn’t mean I have to be cruel or mean, but I was told many times, “Don’t rock the boat.” As I got older, I realized I have a lot of good thoughts. I’ve been told a lot in my life to go to the sideline and don’t talk too much. Once you’re told that over and over, you start to believe, “Is there any truth in that? Maybe I should go on the sidelines. Maybe I should cheer somebody else on.”

 

I had a horrible experience when I was in middle school. I was very blonde naturally at that time. I cannot tell you how many male teachers told me when I would ask a question, and it wasn’t a good question because we all ask questions that aren’t that good, “You asked that because you’re blonde.” You can’t be blonde and smart. I cannot tell you how many times I was called a dumb blonde. When those things are said to you over and over, you say, “It’s me.” That’s what’s happened with women. I saw online something that stuck with me. It was like a t-shirt, a meme, or whatever. It said, “The patriarchy should be happy that women want equality and not revenge.”

 

I might be able to get on board with that. Everything that you said has to resonate with some of our readers. You’re now successful. You’re an author. You have all this life experience. What were some things that you told yourself, “I’m good enough to ask even a dumb question or to seek some knowledge, and it’s okay to be wrong?” What was the inner dialogue in your head that made you push through that and succeed on the other side?

 

There are a couple of stages of that. When I was in high school, I was definitely involved in things, but I never chose to run for let’s say president of the student council, which I wanted to do. I was like, “I don’t think that’s for me. I will vote for this guy because he wants to run,” or I never became captain of the tennis team because I didn’t want any attention. That makes me sad a little bit that I just wanted to be in the middle row. I did not want any attention. I made sure I kept as quiet as possible because I didn’t want to be that dumb blonde. I did enough to get by on everything.

 

When I got to college, I was like, “What in the world am I doing? This is insane. This isn’t me.” It makes me sad. I went to Indiana University, which was an amazing experience for me. I then got out of college and I am going for a job that this guy is going for too in Chicago. He leaves the interview and they said, “Jody, I want you to stay.” I’m like, “This is good. I’m excited.” They’re like, “We want you to take a typing test.” I was like, “What?” This is back in the late ‘80s. I’m like, “You want me to take a typing test? What about that guy that walked out the door? Why doesn’t he have to take the typing test?” She’s like, “That’s the way it is. You have to take the typing test.” That started to go back again. I thought college was okay, but then it comes back at you. I felt like I was punched in the face.

 

What started me on my “I’m not giving up on this” was when I had my three kids. I started to see the products marketed to girls and boys, and the discrepancies in the products that were marketed to them. To girls was more about appearance and attractiveness. To boys was all about violence and aggression. It became personal. It’s like, “I can handle stuff. I can get through stuff, but now you’re messing with my kids.”

 

I started to realize that we start conditioning kids to be a certain way at a very young age. Inequality doesn’t start in our teens and twenties. All those self-help classes for women to fit in and to change to fit in, it’s like, “We’re not broken. We don’t need to be fixed. It’s our cultures that that’s broken. It’s our culture that needs to be fixed, not us.” It goes back to the toys, the books, and the media that the kids watch. That’s where I’ve been focused on trying to get that message out. It’s different because we do focus on women, which is important, but we also need to look at the root of the problem.

 

When you were saying that when you started your job or when you were applying for the job and they asked you to take that typing test, first of all, it created a visceral reaction within myself. The other thing is it’s a good example of how you felt strong in college and confident, then all of a sudden, you got slapped in the face. That’s a testament to our confidence ebbs and flows.

 

Sometimes you are encountering things that are challenging and you’re not as confident. The key here is that we have to push through that fear. We have to push through that sense of, “They don’t want me there,” because if you didn’t go through those situations or life experiences, you wouldn’t be who you are today, hence pushing for your kids. I can relate to you. I have two kids. You mess with me, okay, but if you mess with my kids, no. I know you’re probably familiar with Mindset book by Carol Dweck, talking about language and how it is important that as a parent, instead of telling our young girls, “You look so pretty. You’re so smart,” praise the effort. Do you feel like you have seen that with your kids in your experience and journey?

 

I’m not giving my daughter just the traditional dolls, Barbies, or hair stuff. We weren’t giving our boys guns or anything violent. It was, “Just play. What do you want to play with? What do you want to do?” My oldest son is a fabulous cook. He loved cooking at a very young age. It’s like, “We’re going to start cooking. You like this and I love this about you.” He would make us breakfast every morning on the weekends, and he loved doing that.

 

It was definitely something that as a parent, as we know, is very difficult, especially now because there are many influences from the outside that we can’t control. What are these kids doing? The rates of eating disorders are going up for young girls. They’re seeing them as young as the age of 4, 5, and 6. What is going on? We need to get a handle on this. You can be the best parent in the world and still have to fight these battles of outside influences, which are very difficult.

 

Now more than ever, parents have to be vigilant of what their kids are watching because there are so many negative influential materials out there that you have to take a look at. My kids were at the tail end of when all of the social media started, being like 22 and 24. I am grateful that I didn’t have to do that whole social media when they were young because it is hard to keep control, and the stuff that they hear at school, things that they hear with their friends, and things like that.

 

What are some things that you are recognizing now that we could do as moms and as members of society? What are some things that you have found that you’ve been recommending? When you’re talking to your friends or conferences, what are some things that you’re recommending that we can do better to help that gender stereotyping from the time our kids are young?

 

To combat gender stereotypes, call every single one out. I have connections with the misrepresentation. It’s G4. I’m going to call them out on your show. They had the most horrific sexualization and objectification of women in their ads that I have seen in twenty years. If you go to either my social media pages or misrepresentations social media, it is awful. What do I do? I call them out. Misrepresentation calls them out on social media. The amount of women and traction that went to the G4 social media and called them out, someone is in trouble.

“To combat gender stereotypes, call every single one out.” – Jodi Bondi Norgaard Click To Tweet

Companies are listening. I don’t think that people understand how much power we have as consumers. I know it’s difficult because buying dolls for your daughter, there are no choices out there. That’s what I was trying to give. Kids have a choice in the toy aisle. The 72 fashion dolls are not going to go away, but let’s give them a choice. Let’s give them a sports doll. Let’s see what happens. Maybe or maybe not, but let’s at least try. It’s difficult. We need to be on these toy companies because a lot of times people think the toy companies have our children’s best interests at heart, but we have to remember they’re a business. The bottom line, it’s money. There are certain companies that are not doing the right thing.

 

From the conference that we spoke at, I know you also said there was a second situation where you were trying to buy a science kit. When you went to the boys, you saw a science kit for boys, the volcanoes, and whatever. When you were trying to find something for your daughter, the only thing you could find is making nail polish.

 

You can make your own nail polish or you can make perfume or hair scrunchies. You can be a scientist, but it’s all about appearance. You have to look pretty while you’re doing it. It left such a terrible feeling. You know girls like the ones that explode too like volcanoes.

 

We know that nowadays there are more girls going into the STEM field than ever before, but it’s still challenging for them. My son graduated as an engineer. I asked him, “How many girls were there in your classes?” He’s like, “I don’t know, 2 or 3, or 3 or 4?” He is in upper-level classes. I was like, “That’s unfortunate,” but the good thing is that more and more women in the STEM industries are advocating for more women to come into the technology, industry, engineering, and all that stuff.

 

I feel that in this time in the world, many of us, you and I included, are pushing forward collectively so that we can unearth some of these issues. To your point, this is more of a bigger societal issue that we have to fix. I love the fact that you said that we as consumers do have the power, especially with social media. If something doesn’t sit right, go onto their social media and say something. If you see something, say something. Now with social media, it’s easy to go onto the advertisers’ platforms and say, “This is not right,” and whatever.

 

Use your voice, and it’s okay to use your voice. Going back to misrepresentation, they have a hashtag. It’s very easy to use. It’s #NotBuyingIt.

“It's okay to use your voice.” – Jodi Bondi Norgaard Click To Tweet

Right after the Women of Insurance Conference, I did a TikTok about the Go! Go! Sports Girls because I wanted to at least have it out there. There are options for parents to buy wholesome toys that are a positive influence on their kids. Kudos to you for creating that.

 

I do appreciate that, but I do want to make it clear that the company that bought my product never went forward with it. They pulled the Go! Go! Sports. The books are out there, but the dolls are no longer out there, which was heartbreaking. It was a very difficult breakup. They acquired my brand. They worked on it for two years. We were ready to launch, and they got cold feet. Their reasoning was that a true girl empowerment product has never been launched and they didn’t want to be the first.

 

What a miss.

 

I was heartbroken. My journey through the toy industry is not surprising. It is very hard. Walmart took me on, which was a big kudos to them, and I loved working with them. It’s difficult to break into the toys industry, especially with a product that is different. It’s the product that we all know about a doll, but with a twist. A lot of times they didn’t know where to put me or they couldn’t buy it because they would tell me girls ultimately like fashion and, “Could I create a fashion doll?” Fashion is great. I like my fashion, but that doesn’t define me. It’s all much more to me.

 

The good thing to me is you went through that journey and you’re showing parents that they do have options. To me, that’s the biggest thing that has come out of your journey. Speaking of your journey, I know that you’re working or you have worked with the White House in some capacity. Tell me about that.

 

In 2016, I was invited to the White House twice to participate in conferences on breaking down gender stereotypes in media and toys, which was amazing. Unfortunately, it was called the Department of Women and Girls. That department was shut down during the Trump era. During the Biden administration, Biden started the Gender Policy Council. Jennifer Klein is the head of that. I am working with them on the policy as it relates to toys, media, and hopefully, some social media in there as well.

 

From 2016 to now, it’s changed. It’s very hard to keep up with too. I am meeting with them in a few weeks. I’m hopeful to know more because they did a study along with my partner Laurel Wider. She is the founder of Wonder Crew, which is a line of dolls for boys. It’s absolutely fabulous. She’s done a wonderful job. The reason she started it, to tell her story, was her son came home from preschool. He was very sad. She said, “What’s going on?” He said, “I was sad and crying and I was told by my teacher that boys don’t cry.” She’s like, “I’m done with this.” She was focusing on the boy part. I’m on the girl, and we’ve come together.

 

We have a study that we worked on with the Geena Davis Institute called Equal Play. That’s what we submitted to the White House. We’ve been meeting with France and England because they’re ahead of us in breaking down these gender stereotypes in toys and media. They’re looking at us as for some are like, “What are you guys doing?” We are like, “We’ll get back to you on that.” Hopefully, we have something to give back to them in a few weeks. The needle is moving quickly right now.

 

I love the fact that you’re working with your partner. She’s looking at it from the boy’s perspective because obviously, there are still gender stereotypes with boys just as much as girls. What I love about that is that hopefully, the newest generation like Generation Z is more woke and more accepting of people. Now, the next generation, which they’re calling Generation Alpha, I do hope that they are the first generation where they don’t see those gender issues, or they don’t highlight the differences as much as we have.

 

Kudos to you both for pushing through that journey because navigating the toy industry as a consumer is bad enough. I can’t imagine trying to work with all the toy manufacturers who are just in it to make a profit. That was very challenging. What are your next steps as far as your journey in highlighting gender stereotypes and how toxic and critical they are from the very beginning of our lives to now? What are your next steps?

 

My next step is my More Than A Doll book. It is with my agents. We’re shopping it out to publishers. Hopefully, somebody picks that up, sounding the siren that it does. Gender inequality starts at a very young age. In speaking about boys, one thing that made me sad when I was raising my boys is my oldest Peter. He is an incredibly kind-hearted sensitive young man. He was a young boy too. He was so sweet. I saw how those emotions when he was told by outside sources, whether it’s media, friends, groups, or society, that if you show kindness, that is weak. He is 29 now. He’s an amazing kind adult, but there was a road for him to get there, and it was not that complete, “I fit into this masculine.”

NWB 72 | Combat Gender Stereotypes
Combat Gender Stereotypes: Gender inequality starts at a very young age.

 

My business partner Laurel and I have written a book together. It’s a children’s book series that we started called Benny and B. What we’re doing is that we are tackling DE&I or Diversity and Inclusion mainly in a children’s book in a very subtle funny way. We’ve gotten some very good feedback. We just finished our first book. That’s with our agent as well. We’re shopping that one out to publishers. We did get an endorsement by Sesame Street. It’s a good book.

 

Congratulations. I’m excited for you.

 

It’s about making a difference. It’s been a puzzle. It’s hard to make a difference, create change, and challenge the status quo.

 

It is, but you and your partner are doing it. The bigger picture is we have to keep doing it. You have to keep telling your story. I’m sure like every speaker where you get sick and tired of your story, but not everybody has heard your story. When I heard you speak a couple of months ago, it was the first time that I heard you and I was exposed to you. I’m like, “I need you to get on my show. We need to get this message out.”

 

It’s important for all of us to realize that how we behave in business, whether you have your own business, or you’re in the corporate world, or you work for a small entrepreneur, how you show up matters. It all boils down to how you were raised, how your parents spoke to you, what exposure you had in school, and all of those things.

 

It’s the more we can educate our parents and even our younger girls. I read something like girls’ confidence peaks at age nine, which is so unfortunate. It’s terrible. One of my guests highlighted that when girls are in their 30s and they’re trying to advance in that corporate world, that’s when they start focusing on their confidence again because they’re busy living between 9 and mid-30s. The focus is you need to hone your confidence. You need to work at it because it’s not something that comes naturally with all society telling you how you should be. It’s important. For the first time, many women are helping each other. I read a quote from Madeline Albright that says, “There’s a special place in hell for women that don’t help other women.”

 

For those who do, there’s a special place of honor. It’s true that girls’ confidence peaks at the age of nine, and then they start thinking that they should look, act, and feel a certain way. They go down this path that may not be their natural path to them, but a path that they feel society wants them to be on. By the age of five, those stereotypes are deeply ingrained in our children that little girls start believing that their gender can’t do as much as the male gender. It’s very heartbreaking. I look at it as, “Look at how fricking kick-ass women are with all this that we go through, and we still come out on top.”

 

Warren Buffett said one of my favorite quotes. He said, “Look at what our country has accomplished using half its talent. Imagine what we would accomplish if we pulled women off the sidelines.” I love that so much. I get that it is hard to give up power for some men like the patriarchy, but when women are at the table, whether it be business, social volunteer, or family, the outcomes for everyone are more prosperous and peaceful. There are studies after studies that show that this works.

 

I do think that women supporting women is huge. I know that one of the ways to do it is the amplification strategy, and I said this at the conference. I know personally I’m not a loud talker by any means. I have found in my life that I get talked over by some men, whether they be in my family, in my business, or they’re in business. I have seen that when women will step in and repeat what the other woman said, making sure her voice is heard and her idea is heard when it isn’t taken by a man, then it works.

 

This has been a fantastic conversation. I can’t wait to see your new book coming out and hopefully, all the kids’ books. That’s going to drive the message with parents and the younger kids. You can be a wave of change at that young level. Congratulations on all of your success. I’m excited for you.

 

Thank you. I appreciate you and your audience too because a lot of times, we see feminism or what we hear about women in such a dim light. Once we start seeing it, the room starts getting lighter and you’re like, “Wait a minute,” then you start handing out flashlights. A lot of times we do tell ourselves, “Maybe it’s me,” like I did when I was younger. “Maybe it’s me because everybody is saying this,” then you realize, “I’m being like this whack-a-mole. I was starting to rise and then I was being hit on the head.” That happens to every woman, “You’re getting too high. I whack you down.” I appreciate all you do.

 

Thank you. Are there maybe any two final things or concrete ideas that you can leave our audience with from our conversation today?

 

One thing that I do want to stress is to trust your gut. I have learned that women have amazing intuition. Think of it this way. When a woman is feeling creeped out, I’m going to go to the creep factor because we’ve all been through there, whether we feel like we’re being followed, or stared at, and men don’t go through this, our spidey senses go out. We are 99.99% correct. Our gut is telling us, “You are correct.” Follow and trust your gut. Have that friend, colleague, or a few of them to bounce some ideas over if you’re feeling uncomfortable using your voice.

 

Learn to feel comfortable in being wrong and making mistakes. Another thing that we put upon women so much is this perfection. You have to be perfect in many different ways, and failure is not part of that perfection. Sometimes we don’t speak our minds because we have this perfect quality that we want to do. Throw perfection out the window. Strive for improvement. Move forward with trusting your gut always. The next thing would be to persist when things get difficult. It does get difficult and persist. Put on your helmet and move forward. You’ll be good.

NWB 72 | Combat Gender Stereotypes
Combat Gender Stereotypes: Learn to feel comfortable in being wrong, in making mistakes.

 

You are an embodiment of number two because you have persisted. On behalf of all the women out there, and men too because this is all going to help society as a whole, thank you for the work that you do. Congratulations on all of your success. Thank you so much for being here.

 

Thank you for having me.

 

 

I hope you got tremendous value from my conversation with Jodi because I know I did. A few key takeaways from me are that moment when Jodi was in the toy store. It was such an a-ha moment, and it made her realize all the harmful stereotypes that there are in the toy industry. She took action and that started her journey on the gender norms.

 

The second thing is her confidence and her persistence. It wavered here and there, but Jodi had this amazing moment that led her down a journey. She overcame self-doubt and societal expectations. She knew that it was important for her to push through, even if she had all these people telling her, “It’s not going to work.” She is a massive inspiration for me in being a leader. She’s literally forging the path for many of us.

 

The last thing is consumer advocacy is important. As consumers, we have the power to influence change. We need to make the most of our influence. Finally, Jody leaves us with two tips. She says to trust yourself and just persist. That’s exactly what she did. She is an embodiment of both of those tips. It was an amazing conversation. As a reminder, if you haven’t taken my quiz on figuring out if you are sabotaging and how you’re sabotaging your career advancement, please go ahead and take the free quiz. With that, remember to be brave, be bold, and take action.

 

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About Jodi Bondi Norgaard

NWB 72 | Combat Gender StereotypesJodi Bondi Norgaard is an entrepreneur, author, keynote speaker, feminist advocate, and an expert in creating change and breaking gender stereotypes. She is the founder of Dream Big Toy Company and the creator of the award-winning Go! Go! Sports Girls line of dolls and books for girls encouraging healthy and active play over fashion and body image. Her forthcoming book, More Than A Doll, makes the case that gender stereotypes in childhood are more destructive than our culture perceives and, in fact, stands in the way of gender equality. She has been featured on national media including the Today Show, Forbes, and New York Times. She currently collaborates with The White House Gender Policy Council as it relates to children’s toys, content, and publishing.