Timeline of Conversations with the Toy Industry Association (TIA) Regarding Gender Based Toy Awards

In response to our post and petition calling on the Toy Industry Association (TIA) to do away with the Boy and Girl Toy Of The Year (TOTY) Awards, numerous readers have asked what the response of the TIA has been.

For full disclosure, we now present the full timeline of our emails, posts and the response of the TIA…

January 4th, 2016

We sent the following email to Jackie Retzer, Communications Coordinator of the TIA –

“Hi Jackie,

Happy New Year.  Hope all is going well.

I was doing some research for an article on the Toy Industry and I was hoping you could shed some light on a topic…

I noticed that the TOTY Awards have 14 categories, two of the categories are:

Boy Toy of the Year Award
Girl Toy of the Year Award

My question is simply, how do you determine if a toy is a boy or girl toy?  For example, a Drone is a finalist for the Boy Toy of the Year.  Why isn’t a Drone equally appropriate for a girl?

Last year Zoomer Dino won for Boy Toy of the Year, yet this year Zoomer Kitty is a finalist for Girl Toy of the Year.  Is the assumption that boys play with dinosaurs and girls play with cats?

I am sure others have raised these questions, but I wanted to give the TIA a chance to respond directly and clarify your stance on having awards for Boy Toys and Girl Toys.

Thank you for your time,
Dan Nessel”

Response From TIA – NONE

January 13th, 2016

We launch our post and online petition asking the TIA to do away with the Boy and Girl TOTY Awards.

Ken Seiter, VP Marketing Communications of TIA is named on the petition and a copy of the petition is sent to him.

Response From TIA – NONE

January 14th, 2016

We sent the following email to Ken Seiter, VP Marketing Communucations of TIA –

“Hi Ken,

Happy New Year! Hope your 2016 is off to a great start.

As you may be aware, I have launched a petition asking the TIA to do away with the Boy TOTY Award and the Girl TOTY Award. All info here –



Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

I really believe the TIA does some great things and love the idea of awarding fun in toys. The solution seems very easy – just give the awards based on the characteristics of the toys. Target has done away with Boy and Girl toy sections, why should the TIA continue to award gender stereotypes?

I look forward to open dialogue about this and perhaps we can meet in person at Toy Fair next month.

Dan Nessel


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Read My Column in Grand Magazine – Toys N Tech

P.S. If you are not the correct decision maker for this issue, please let me know who is and I will update the petition.”

Response From TIA – NONE

January 15th, 2016

We sent the following email to Adrienne Appell, Director, Strategic Communications of TIA –

“Hi Adrienne,

Hope all is well. I had been contacting Ken Seiter, but have not heard anything back and was told you might be the right person to contact. Really want to be fair and tell both sides of the story, so would love to hear something back from the TIA.

Have a great weekend,

[Included the emails I had sent Ken Seiter]”

Response From TIA – NONE

February 4th, 2016

We sent the following email to Ken Seiter and Adrienne Appell –

“Hey Ken and Adrienne,

Hope you are doing well. You guys must be crazy preparing for Toy Fair and the TOTY Awards. Speaking of TOTY Awards…

Wouldn’t it be a great piece of publicity if you announced at the 2016 TOTY Awards that this is the last year you will be doing Boy and Girl TOTY Awards?

Germany, UK – all have done away with Boy and Girl toy awards. Here in the states, KAPi Awards do not have Boy and Girl awards. Just feels like the right time to make the change and use the platform of your award ceremony to generate positive press and get Toy Fair off on a lovely start.

As I have stated previously, would love to get your side of the story for our post and petition. Feels very one sided now without any response from TIA, so just email me a response and I will post it to the site.

Looking forward to a great Toy Fair.

Take care,


Response From TIA on February 4th, 2016 

Ken Seiter sent the following email –

“Needless to say we don’t touch this. Obviously this guy needs a job

Sent from my iPhone”

The above email was sent to Dan Nessel and Adrienne Appell, so it appears Ken hit Reply to All when he meant to just Reply to Adrienne and tell her the TIA does not touch this issue…and Dan Nessel needs to get a job if he has time to care about the issue of negative gender stereotypes.

February 12th, 2016 – 6:30am EST

Washington Post article by Dr Rebecca Hains is published on the issue of gender based toy awards.

In the article, Adrienne Appell is quoted as saying-

“Right now we are reviewing. We are cognizant of the fact that the world is changing and we are looking to retire these categories.”

February 12th, 2016 – Approximately 9:30pm EST

On stage, at the Toy of The Year (TOTY) Awards Ceremony, CEO of the Toy Industry Association (TIA), Steve Pasierb, said this…

“For TOTY, that means taking a fresh look at our awards process, engaging even more people from the industry to serve on nominations committees, making certain the process is transparent, and both refreshing and expanding our categories to reflect the incredible innovation of the toy industry. That will also mean reassessing the boys toy and girls toy categories.”

February 17th, 2016

Toy News runs an article titled “TIA Open To Dropping Gender Based Toy Of The Year Awards Categories

The article states –

“TIA president Steve Pasierb has revealed that the organisation is open to shaking up its Toy of the Year Awards categories, including dropping those based around gender.”

In the article, Steve Pasierb, CEO of TIA is quoted as saying that he does not want to create “false dichotomies” by having gender based toy awards.

No timetable is given on when or if they will drop the Boy and Girl Toy of The Year Award categories.



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