Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill on Saturday, requiring toy stores with more than 500 employees to have a section of toys and childcare products that are not specified under any gender.
The law does not prohibit traditional sections for girls and boys in stores, but requires stores to display “a reasonable selection” of items “whether they have traditionally been marketed for girls or for boys.”
Mr Newsom did not comment on the law after signing it, but Evan Low, a member of the Democratic State Assembly who drafted the bill, said he was “incredibly grateful” , reported on Los Angeles Times newspaper.
“Part of that is making sure that if you’re a young girl, you can find a police car, a fire truck, a periodic table, or a dinosaur,” Mr. Low said.
“And then the same, 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, that should be shameful” and going to another place? “
He said it was the daughter of a member of his staff who inspired Bill when she asked him why she had to visit the boys’ section to find some of the toys of his liking.
“Kids have a unique way of saying things that use common sense,” Mr. Low said. “I think it’s important that we, as a state, demonstrate our values of diversity and inclusion. “
The bill passed despite opposition and criticism from Republicans and Conservatives who said the government should not dictate how private companies should display merchandise in their stores.
The Consumer Federation of California, a nonprofit advocacy organization, backed the law and said traditionally marketed items implied that their use by a gender could be viewed as “inappropriate.”
“Keeping separate similar items that are traditionally marketed for either girls or boys makes it more difficult for the consumer to compare the products and wrongly implies that their use by a gender is inappropriate,” the organization cited by The Fresno Bee newspaper.
It was the third time Democrats have tried to pass the law, after two failed attempts in 2019 and 2020.
Some retail stores, however, had already taken the initiative to move away from traditional displays long before the bill was enacted.
Target, which has 1,915 stores in the United States, announced in 2015 that it would not use sexist branding in its stores.