Press Release: Debenhams drops “girls” and “boys” signs after pressure from Let Toys Be Toys

High street chain Debenhams this week announced it would be removing all “girls” and “boys” signage from their toy departments. The statement comes after a sustained campaign from Let Toys Be Toys, the parent-led action group that aims to stop gender stereotyping in children’s toys.

The victory comes hot on the heels of several other successes by Let Toys Be Toys, including a commitment from Toys R Us to market their toys in a gender-inclusive way, changes to toy packaging from Marks and Spencer, and a complete removal of all gendered toy signs in TK Maxx and Boots.

Debenhams told the campaign on Twitter: “We would like to assure you that changes have been made to the way we categorise toys in our stores. These changes will take place across all stores in the next few weeks.” They clarified this meant the removal of all “girls” and “boys” headers of all stores in the UK and Ireland, as well as changes to their website.

Kerry Brennan, Let Toys Be Toys campaigner said “For me, this is a particularly significant development, because it was a trip to Debenhams in Cork with my young daughter, and the sight of her browsing her favourite toys under a “Boys” sign, that was the impetus for my involvement in initiating the Let Toys Be Toys campaign almost a year ago. To know that those signs will now be gone before she is old enough to read them really illustrates the difference consumer voices are making on this issue.”

The campaign and its supporters had been protesting about Debenhams “girls” and “boys” labels since last Christmas. Their objections had been communicated in writing, in person and also by harnessing the power of social media, where much of the Let Toys Be Toys campaigning takes place. Find out about the group’s next targets at www.79.170.40.168/lettoysbetoys.org.uk and on twitter @lettoysbetoys

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NOTES TO EDITORS

1. Images at https://app.box.com/s/y9xrxkbwtor5x26q7qne

2. Storify tweets and pics of Debenams from supporters at http://storify.com/LetToysBeToys/debenhams-tweets

3. Let Toys Be Toys is a grassroots consumer campaign, run and organised wholly by volunteers, calling on retailers to stop limiting children’s interests by promoting some toys as only suitable for girls, and others only for boys.
See www.79.170.40.168/lettoysbetoys.org.uk for more information.

Over 9,000 people have now signed the Let Toys Be Toys petition on change.org, asking retailers in the UK and Ireland to remove gender labels and organise toys by genre not gender, and the campaign has over 12,000 likes/followers on social media.

Campaign successes include persuading retail chains The Entertainer, Toys R Us and Tesco to commit to more inclusive marketing.

Contacts:
• Website: www.79.170.40.168/lettoysbetoys.org.uk
• Email: lettoysbetoys@gmail.com
• Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Let-Toys-Be-Toys-For-Girls-and-Boys/104658933034521
• Twitter: @lettoysbetoys
• Change.org petition: http://goo.gl/N423C

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