- Large California-based retailers must provide gender-neutral toy sections by January 1, 2024.
- The bill defines large retailers as stores with 500 or more employees.
- Stores that fail to comply with the bill may be fined between $250-500.
For his final action of the 2020-21 legislative session, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed 32 bills into law, including a bill requiring large retailers throughout the state to provide gender-neutral toy sections by 2024.
Retail stores with 500 or more employees must provide a gender-neutral section for child care items and toys, regardless of whether the products have been traditionally marketed to a specific gender, according to the bill authored by state Assemblymember Evan Low.
Retailers can still offer other toys and items for children in traditional boys and girls sections if they choose to, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"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 a dinosaur," Low told the Los Angeles Times. "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?"
Beginning on January 1, 2024, any retail department store that fails to comply could be fined up to $250 for a first violation and $500 for all subsequent violations, according to the bill.
Some retailers like Target have already moved away from using gender-based signage in their stores, particularly in toy sections.
"Historically, guests have told us that sometimes - for example, when shopping for someone they don't know well -signs that sort by brand, age or gender help them get ideas and find things faster, a Target press release from 2015 said. "But we know that shopping preferences and needs change and, as guests have pointed out, in some departments like Toys, Home or Entertainment, suggesting products by gender is unnecessary."