Large California retailers with over 500 employees will be obligated to have a “gender-neutral” toy section beginning January 1, 2024, in accordance with a new state law signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2021. A violation of this regulation may result in a $500 fine for retailers failing to establish a gender-neutral section designated for children aged 12 and below, wherein they sell baby products or toys.
A childcare item is any product that is intended to aid infants in sleeping, relaxing, eating, sucking, or teething, as defined by the legislation. Although the establishment of conventional boys and girls sections is not strictly forbidden, legislation mandates the incorporation of a gender-neutral section.
In an interview with Fox News Digital, Greg Burt, vice president of the California Family Research Council, criticized the law on the grounds that it violates the First Amendment by means of compelling speech. Burt articulated his apprehensions regarding the potential encroachment of governmental authority on the religious convictions of proprietors who own businesses and mandated storefront signage.
Many California retailers have begun complying with the law, according to the proprietor of a toy store based in Los Angeles. The primary objectives of the legislation are to facilitate product comparison for consumers and to contest conventional gender biases that persist in marketing.
A reasonable selection of children’s products and toys must be on exhibit, in accordance with the law, irrespective of their traditional marketing target gender (girls or boys). Non-compliance with this stipulation could lead to civil penalties, which could be enforced via legal proceedings initiated by the district attorney, city attorney, or state attorney general. Penalties increase in value from $250 to $500 for each subsequent violation.
Advocates of the legislation, including Evan Low, a Democrat from California and the bill’s author, contend that it will facilitate the eradication of gender-based prejudices and discrimination. Low conveyed his optimism that the legislation would inspire enterprises in California and throughout the United States to refrain from perpetuating detrimental and antiquated stereotypes.
The enactment of this legislation coincides with more extensive discourse and deliberation concerning gender identity and representation across multiple industries, including retail. There is ongoing discourse among both critics and supporters regarding the potential ramifications of this legislation on businesses and consumers.