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California Bill Would Punish Retailers That Have Separate Boys And Girls Departments

A new bill introduced by Evan Low, a Democratic member of the California State Assembly would punish stores that separate toys. clothing, and childcare items into boys’ and girls’ sections by forcing them to pay $1,000 fine.

The Democratic member of the Assembly who is from Silicon Valley submitted the bill AB 2826, which states:

This bill would require a retail department store with 500 or more employees to maintain undivided areas of its sales floor where, if it sells childcare articles, children’s clothing, or toys, all childcare items, all clothing for children, or all toys, regardless of whether a particular item has traditionally been marketed for either girls or for boys, shall be displayed. Beginning on January 1, 2023, the bill would make a retail department store that fails to correct a violation of these provisions within 30 days of receiving written notice of the violation from the Attorney General liable for a civil penalty of $1,000, as provided.

It adds:

(a) A retail department store shall maintain one, undivided area of its sales floor where, if it sells childcare articles, all childcare articles, regardless of whether a particular item has traditionally been marketed for either girls or for boys, shall be displayed.

(b) A retail department store shall maintain one, undivided area of its sales floor where, if it sells children’s clothing, all clothing for children, regardless of whether a particular item has traditionally been marketed for either girls or for boys, shall be displayed.

(c) A retail department store shall maintain one, undivided area of its sales floor where, if it sells toys, all toys, regardless of whether a particular item has traditionally been marketed for either girls or for boys, shall be displayed.

Assemblyman Evan Low’s office sent out this press release which reads:

Assemblymember Evan Low (D–Silicon Valley) introduced AB 2826 last week, which would require retail department stores with 500 or more employees to maintain areas on their sales floor not divided by gender for kids toys, clothing, and childcare articles.

Clothing and toys sections of department stores that are separated along gender lines pigeonhole children. No child should feel stigmatized for wearing a dinosaur shirt or playing with a Barbie doll, and separating items that are traditionally marketed for either girls or boys makes it more difficult for the consumer to compare products. It also incorrectly implies that their use by one gender is inappropriate.

“I was inspired to introduce this bill after 8-year-old Britten asked, ‘Why should a store tell me what a girl’s shirt or toy is?’” said Assemblymember Evan Low. “Her bill will help children express themselves freely and without bias. We need to let kids be kids.”

Already, several major retailers have taken steps to break down gender norms in clothing. Abercrombie & Fitch and John Lewis recently launched unisex apparel lines for kids. In 2015, Target made headlines when it removed gender-based signs in some departments, including home and toys.

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Copyright 2019 John B. Wells