New Bill Would Make Retailers Display Products in a Gender Neutral Fashion

A new bill introduced last week by Assembly Members Evan Low (D-Cupertino) and Cristina Garcia (D-Los Angeles) requires retailers to lay out toys, clothing and childcare products in a gender-neutral configuration.

Products will no longer be allowed to be arranged according to who they’re targeting. Even signage designating boys and girls sections will be prohibited at brick-and-mortar stores.

Online retailers based in California will also be required to provide a page offering their products in a more inclusive manner. According to the bill, that section of the website would be titled “kids,” “unisex,” or “gender neutral.”

Assemblymember Low introduced a similar bill last year with hopes of creating a more inclusive shopping experience saying “This is an issue of children being able to express themselves without bias.”

A passing of the bill - applying to department stores with more than 500 employees - would come with fines for retailers out of compliance. For example, stores that place dresses in a separate section designated for girls could face a $1,000 fine.

In 2015, Target combined its bedding and toys sections without being prompted by mandates. The major retail outlet continued to keep separate its clothing offerings “where there are fit and sizing differences” among gender-based apparel. The new bill would not allow Target or other retailers to continue that practice.

Brick-and-mortar stores, having already suffered through long pandemic-related lockdown restrictions, would be further challenged with costs associated with the new regulations.

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