California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law mandating that retail stores offer some of their toys in gender-neutral sections. The mandate comes ahead of efforts to push out gender stereotypes from childhood education and encourage children to consider toys without taking gender-based expectations into consideration.
“This bill would require a retail department store that is physically located in California that has a total of 500 or more employees across all California retail department store locations that sells childcare items or toys to maintain a gender neutral section or area, to be labeled at the discretion of the retailer, in which a reasonable selection of the items and toys for children that it sells shall be displayed, regardless of whether they have been traditionally marketed for either girls or for boys,” Newsom’s law reads.
The specifics for retailers remain unclear as to how many toys or percentage of inventory retailers must carry to satisfy the requirements on having a “reasonable selection.”
The law will only go into effect in 2024 and carries a possible $250 fine for the first violation, worth up to a $500 fine for every subsequent violation.
The California state legislature says that the law may keep consumers from “incorrectly” believing that a toy may be “inappropriate” for children of either gender. In other words, if parents purchase a toy from the gender neutral section of the store for their female daughter, they may not be accidentally purchasing a boy’s toy for her.
“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,” said state Assemblyman Evan Low (D-CA), who introduced the legislation, according to the LA Times.
Low added, “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?”
Newsom did not release a statement on the bill after signing it into law. Aside from announcing its passage alongside dozens of other bills that he signed.
Another notable law, AB1346, will ban retailers from selling gas-powered lawnmowers by 2024 in a move to cut down on the state’s carbon emissions and drive green energy versions of appliances.
Andrew Bray of the National Association of Landscaping Professionals told the LA Times that these green versions currently cost twice as much as conventional gas lawnmowers.
“It’s amazing how people react when they learn how much this equipment pollutes, and how much smog forming and climate changing emissions that small off-road engine equipment creates,” said State Assemblyman Marc Berman (D-CA), who authored the bill. “This is a pretty modest approach to trying to limit the massive amounts of pollution that this equipment emits, not to mention the health impact on the workers who are using it constantly.”