Have you heard about the new California law that requires commercial retailers to provide gender-neutral children's sections? It's the newest progressive bill, and it's set to take effect in January 2024.
On October 9, 2021, California governor Gavin Newsom signed it into law. The new regulation, called Assembly Bill 1084, encourages breaking down gender expectations imposed on children by requiring companies located in California with 500+ employees to provide gender-neutral toys and childcare items, “including hygiene and teething products” (NY Times).
The bill doesn't currently cover children's clothing sections, but aims to mitigate the reinforcement of potentially damaging gender stereotypes that can be perpetuated by gendered children's sections in stores. That said, gendered toy and childcare sections are still allowed with the addition of the mandated gender-neutral section. The bill also aims to make it easier to ‘comparison shop' by grouping similar products together. A progressive mandate such as this one is just the beginning of allowing children who don't want to conform to typical gender norms to be themselves, as well as supporting gender non-conforming, non-binary and transgender children.
Having such a requirement will help to eliminate the harmful effects of gender norms during children's formative years, as well as add to your store's progressive image and values. Evan Low, Democratic state assemblyman and author of the new mandate, says that “we need to stop stigmatizing what's acceptable for certain genders and just let kids be kids” (NY Times).
View the full bill here.