November 15, 2013
In the wake of overwhelming support for an Australian campaign to end gender classification of toys, retail giant Toys R Us appears willing to listen to concerns and has removed the Boy and Girl categories from its online store.
The move is a massive boost for a campaign started last week by children’s advocacy group Play Unlimited to eliminate the gender-based marketing of toys by manufacturers and retailers.
The group had targeted Toys R Us, with a petition addressed to the Managing Director, Andre Javes, asking the firm to “Stop limiting our children’s play”.
The online petition gathered more than 850 signatures during the first full week of the campaign.
One of the group’s founders, Thea Hughes, said today that she is delighted by the move.
“We congratulate them on making this change and see it as a step in the right direction,” she said.
“We are pleased that our campaign has had such a positive impact in such a short space of time – it shows that people have real concerns about the way in which toys are promoted to children and parents.
“There is a huge opportunity for Toys R Us to lead the way on this issue and to show that it wishes to support balanced development of children.
“We would be more than happy to work with Toys R Us to ensure the best outcome for everyone.”
Ms Hughes said there was still a long way to go before Toys R Us could be considered to be supporting gender-neutral marketing.
“Almost all of their online products are tagged with ‘boys’ or ‘girls’ and are often depicted in such a way as to leave no doubt as to the intended play audience,” she said.
“And I suspect we’ve got a fair bit more work to do before we see some real-world change taking place in the layout and categorisation of their physical stores.
“But we knew this wasn’t going to be a matter of retailers flicking a switch.
“We’ll continue to work on the ground to educate and gather support from the people who matter – those buying toys for their sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, grandsons and granddaughters.”
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