Local

Retailers required to make gender neutral toy sections after new California mandate

By Sylvia Lopez

Oct. 13, 2021

Girl reaching for a plastic toy cow in a toy store Photo cred: Martin Barraud on pixabay

SAN JOSE, CALIF. — Governor Gavin Newsom of California has signed a new law enforcing retail stores to create a “gender neutral” section that is separate from the boy and girl toy sections. 

On Oct. 9th, 2021 it was announced Newsom made it official that all large California retailers will be required to provide the gender neutral sections for children by 2024. This law won’t prohibit stores from having the original “boys” and “girls” sections, but it will require them to have a new section with reasonable selections for toys and childcare products.

If requirements are not met, companies will face a $250 fine for their first violation, and $500 penalties for any violations after their first. Assemblyman Evan Low, who introduced the law, stated “Keeping similar items that are traditionally marked either for girls or boys separated makes it more difficult for the consumer to compare the products and incorrectly implies that their use by one gender is inappropriate.” 

The Consumer Federation of California, a nonprofit advocating for customer rights, supported this new mandate. According to the CFC, it will let buyers compare products easier by grouping items by their similarities. 

“Traditionally children’s toys and products have been categorized by a child’s gender. In retail this has led to the proliferation of [science, technology, engineering and mathematics]-geared toys in a ‘boys’ section and toys that direct girls to pursuits such as caring for a baby, fashion, and domestic life,” Law wrote. “The segregation of toys by a social construct of what is appropriate for which gender is the antithesis of modern thinking.”

Although this law has been in effect already, many business and conservative groups have fought against this. “Activists and state legislators have no right to force retailers to espouse government-approved messages about gender. It’s a violation of free speech and it’s just plain wrong,” said Jonathan Keller, the president of the conservative California Family Council. 

“Retailers and brands should be looking at gender-fluid apparel as an opportunity,” syas Erin Schmidt, senior analyst at Coresight Research. It absolutely can’t be ignored. It will definitely be impacting the fashion trends of the future. And the retailers and brands that are doing it now are really going to be ahead of the curve.” 

A child choosing a toy car  Photo cred: mustafagull on pixabay

Tayler N., a junior at Silver Creek High School, recommends that there should be gender neutral toy sections. “I feel like now, in 2021, it shouldn’t matter if your daughter likes some toy that is supposed to be a boy toy or the other way around. I think it would be cool to have gender neutral toy sections because that means kids could go in and see other types of toys that they don’t usually see in “their” aisle or something like that.”

A child choosing a toy car  Photo cred: mustafagull on pixabay

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