YOUNG children face a bombardment of adverts reinforcing the traditional roles of boys and girls, according to the Equality Authority.
Complaints have been lodged with the Equality Authority over sweets being marketed as "Not for girls" and school-going equipment bearing the message "Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them".
A new study from the authority included examining television advertisements, the 'Late Late Toy Show' and toy stores. It found gender stereotyping is deeply embedded in the marketing process. As marketing strategies target children extensively, it is important to examine both the obvious and hidden messages which are communicated, Niall Crowley, chief executive of the authority, said.
The stereotypes work to limit the roles played by girls and boys and "diminish the choices" open to them, he warned.
During last year's 'Late Late Toy Show' on RTE "the main presenter persistently reinforced stereotypes of gender", according to the study. In the case of one toy, a human skull shown to ooze slime, the comment was uttered "made for boys, I think".
The study carried out by the Centre for Gender and Women's studies in Trinity College Dublin found blue and pink is often used to communicate gender appropriateness of toys, while boys are mainly depicted playing outdoors and girls indoors.
Under the Equal Status Acts, the code of standards states advertisements and promotions should avoid sex stereotyping, Mr Crowley said.
He said they would be working with the Advertising Standards Authority to ensure the standards are applied.