Almost half of adults have said that they experienced gender stereotyping when they were children, according to a survey.
The Fawcett Society has said that of the 1,000 adults surveyed, many expressed concern about "pink for girls, blue for boys" advertising by manufacturers and retailers.
The equality group is launching a commission to examine gender stereotyping, as the chief executive said it is “endemic”.
Sam Smethers told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “It is so endemic that we don’t even notice it half the time and that is part of the problem.”
She added: “Part of the problem is that deep down we do not really normalise the caring side of boys.
“We reinforce aggressive behaviour but we do not actually reinforce boys when they are being caring and sensitive.
“That comes back to gender stereotypes that we see in young people.”
The commission will run until next year and co-chaired by Labour MP David Lammy.
Mr Lammy said: "Unjust stereotypes are massively detrimental to our society.
"As well as holding back women and girls, they send damaging messages to boys about what it means to be a man - like whether it's OK to show emotion, or to have an equal role in parenting.
"Unravelling gender stereotypes is a social justice issue. This is about creating a fairer society where no child is limited just because of their sex, race, disability or any other characteristic."