Toys “R” Us announced Friday that its U.K. stores will stop labeling toys “boys” and “girls.” New standards will be set for in-store signage and images will show children of both genders playing with the same toys.
The change comes in response to a campaign from the group “Let Toys be Toys”, asking retailers “to stop limiting children’s imaginations and interests by promoting some toys as only suitable for girls, and others only for boys.”
“We’re delighted to be working so closely with a major toy retailer and believe that there is much common ground here,” Megan Perryman, a Let Toys Be Toys campaigner, said in a press release. “Even in 2013, boys and girls are still growing up being told that certain toys are ‘for’ them, while others are not. This is not only confusing but extremely limiting, as it strongly shapes their ideas about who they are and who they can go on to become. We look forward to seeing Toys ‘R’ Us lead the way to a more inclusive future for boys and girls.”
Toys “R” Us has attempted to put aside stereotypes in the past. In 2012, the U.S.-based company’s Swedish branch gained attention when images in a Christmas catalogue challenged traditional gender roles.
According to the Let Toys Be Toys release, other U.K. retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Boots, The Entertainer and TJ Maxx have agreed to remove “boy” and “girl” signs from their stores in response to the campaign.
These stores join others in the UK that have already made efforts to end gender separation in toy departments. Last summer, Harrod’s unveiled a massive new toy department organized by theme instead of gender. Before that, Hamleys replaced its pink and blue signage with red and white.