Morrisons back Chi Onwurah's call to ban sexist toy displays

A North East MP has claimed a victory after Morrisons supermarket chain became the first in the country to back her ban on sexist toys

Chi Onwurah
Chi Onwurah

A North East MP has claimed a victory after a supermarket chain became the first in the country to back her ban on sexist toys.

Morrisons has got behind Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah’s call for an end to gender-specific toy labelling.

The MP has led efforts to force an end to the gender stereotyping which sees girls offered pink princess toys while boys are given macho blue toys.

And now Morrisons has said it is prepared to address the way it targets customers in its toy aisles and move to phase out pink and blue.

The firm has been in talks with the MP and, after voters pointed out more examples of boys-only and girls-only toys, the supermarket said it was going to change.

A Morrisons spokeswoman said: “Morrisons has updated the signage in many of our stores and removed the reference to boys’ and girls’ toys. We are aware the old signage remains in some stores and we are working to address this.

“Our new signage retains colour coding based on our experience that this helps customers to navigate the aisle and quickly find the toys that they are looking for. We are listening carefully to the views of all of our customers and the Let Toys Be Toys campaign.

“In the longer term we are planning to make further changes to the way we display toys, which will involve arranging products based on their cost and phasing out the use of blue and pink. We believe this approach will make life easier for busy and cost-conscious shoppers while responding to the demand for gender-neutral toy displays. We are preparing to implement these new displays next year.”

The company made the announcement on the social networking site Twitter to Ms Onwurah and The Journal, which carried the original story on the MP’s Commons speech.

Last night Ms Onwurah welcomed the initial steps. The Labour MP said: “Displaying toys based on their price is a really interesting innovation, very helpful for busy shoppers with limited funds so I’m really looking forward to seeing how that works. I hope it will be in North East Morrisons soon.

“Taking away girls’ and boys’ signs but still colour coding signs is a step forward, but really just a baby one. Why not let children choose what colours they like?”

Ms Onwurah said the way the market targets girls differently to boys from means they risk forcing out half the population from taking up an interest in science or building.

In a debate in parliament she pointed out that it was “illegal to advertise a job as for men only but apparently fine to advertise a toy as for boys only. Why should girls be brought up in an all-pink environment? It does not reflect the real world.”

The MP has faced down internet bullies following her campaign, with some using offensive and aggressive language and accusing the MP of interfering.

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