California bill would ban ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ departments in stores

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Big stores in California would have to get rid of separate “boys” and “girls” departments for toys and clothes under a new bill.

The proposal would require stores with 500 or more employees to maintain “undivided areas of its sales floor” for childcare items, kids clothes and toys, “regardless of whether an item has traditionally been marketed for either girls or for boys,” according to the legislation.

The bill, which refers to “unjustified differences in similar products that are traditionally marketed either for girls or for boys,” would also ban signs indicating specific items are for girls or boys.

Online, any California-based businesses selling childcare items, children’s clothing or toys, would have to “dedicate a section of the internet website to the sale of those items and articles that is titled, at the discretion of the retailer, ‘kids,’ ‘unisex,’ or ‘gender neutral.’”, the bill states.

Stores would face $1,000 fines for failing to comply.

The bill, co-authored by Democrat, Evan Low, who chairs the California Legislative LGBT Caucus, and Cristina Garcia, who chairs the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, was first introduced last year but scrapped as the pandemic came to the forefront.

Low told the Sacramento Bee he was inspired by Target Corp.’s move to do away with gendered signs in 2015.

“As much as I’d like to think of this as watershed legislation, this is something the industry is already doing. We’re just trying to play catch up,” he said.

He also cited a staffer’s 9-year-old daughter, who complained the science toys were in the “boys” section of a store.

“That was the impetus of this, which is how do we make a safe space today for children in society.”

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