California’s Governor Gavin Newsom has just signed a “final batch of legislative actions weighed for the year.” Among them is a new law that will take effect in 2024, mandating all retail stores with 500 or more employees must have a gender-neutral toy and child-care product section.
California became the first state to adopt such a law. The Los Angeles Times reports the stores “must sell some toys and child-care products outside of areas specifically labeled by gender. Retailers can continue to offer other toys and child-care goods in traditional boys and girls sections if they choose to.”
Assemblyman Evan Low, a Democrat from Campbell, introduced the legislation to steer the retail industry away from marketing children’s products under “traditional gender” stereotypes; meaning “boy” and “girl.”
Low said the daughter of one of his staff members inspired the bill when the girl questioned why she had to go to the boys section to find certain toys, reports the Los Angeles Times. “Children have a very unique way of saying things that provide some common sense. I think it’s important that we as a state are demonstrating our values of diversity and inclusion.”
“Part of it is to make sure if you’re a young girl that you can find a police car, fire truck, a periodic table or dinosaur,” said Low. “And then similarly, if you’re a boy if you’re more artistic and want to play with glitter, why not? Why should you feel the stigma of saying ‘Oh, this should be shamed’ and going to a different location?” added Low.
Professor of psychology at UC Santa Cruz, Campbell Leaper, claims “we know from a variety of different research once they have those categories in their heads and if you label something for girls or boys, children will often ignore it if it’s labeled for the other gender.”
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