With the new law signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, separate boys’ and girls’ sections are not prohibited in stores, while a separate gender-neutral section is required.
While the new rule will apply to children’s toys and care products, it will not cover clothing.
Companies that do not abide by the rules will be fined $250 for their first violation and $500 for others.
The law, passed by the California State Assembly last month, will go into effect in 2024 and apply to retailers with 500 or more employees.
In the statement made after the law was passed, it was stated that the amendment will help consumers identify unfair price differences in similar products and combat gender-based bias in children’s products.
‘The antithesis of modern thought’
Democrat Member of Parliament Evan Low, one of the law’s authors, said the bill was inspired by an eight-year-old girl who asked her mother why she should go to the boys’ section to find a particular toy.
Evan Low said, “Separating toys by a social construct about what gender they are appropriate for is the antithesis of modern thinking”. Low emphasized that while there are toys related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics in the boys’ section of the toy shelves, which are classified by gender, activities such as babysitting, fashion and home life take place on the girls’ side.
‘It helps to hide the price difference’
Also, the California Consumer Federation said in a statement to The Sacramento Bee newspaper that segregating products by gender “helps hide the fact that women’s products are often priced higher than men’s products.”
Some retailers in the US are taking steps to avoid gender stereotypes. In 2015, Target announced that it would stop using some gender-based markings in its stores.