SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California legislator has proposed a new law to ban department stores from displaying children's clothing and toys in separate boys' and girls' sections.
Assembly Bill 1084, commonly known as "Britten's Bill," was introduced by Assemblymember Evan Low, a Democrat representing Silicon Valley.
The legislation was named after Britten Sires, a 9-year-old girl who's been fighting to break down gender roles across the state. The self-proclaimed feminist said she came up with the idea for the bill when she felt awkward about entering the boy's section.
"I was like, wait, why is there a boy's section? I'm a girl, but I want to go in it," Britten said.
She noticed two main differences between the boys' and girls' departments that made her feel uncomfortable.
"Boys is more like knowledge and trying to get them smarter so they can get into a good college and get a good job, and then women's is more like makeup and cooking sets," Britten explained.
She said she now owns lots of toys and clothes from the boy's section because those were the items she liked the most.
For the last four years, Britten's mother has been working for Assemblymember Low. The legislator said he was inspired by the 9-year-old as soon as he heard her idea.
"A young girl who is vivacious and is very talented and understands that toys are toys and that we should let kids be kids," Low said.
AB 1084 would make kids' sections in department stores gender-neutral. The legislation applies to businesses with 500 or more employees that sell childcare items and toys.
"We want to make sure we create a welcoming, inclusive environment for all children," Low said.
Britten said she still can't believe her idea could become a reality.
"At first, I was just like, 'Hey, this is wrong.' I never thought she would ever talk to her boss about it and actually turn it into a bill," Britten added.
Her mother said she will always be her daughter's support system and could not be prouder.
In the future, Britten hopes she can continue to inspire other children to raise their voices and stand up for what they believe.
"Whether it's the state or the world, you can change it if you just let people listen to you," Britten said.
If the bill is signed into law, it will go into effect in 2024.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misidentified Assembly Bill 1084. This has been corrected. (March 18, 2021)