Monday, March 29, 2010

Sainsbury's Shamed into Stopping Sexist Labelling

The press release below rather tickled me. As both a mother of three boys and as a woman worker in a male-dominated industry, I completely get where they are coming from and applaud their small but worthwhile victory. That said, I'm not too keen on promoting the military to either boys or girls.


PINKSTINKS has forced UK supermarket giant Sainsbury’s to withdraw the ‘sexist’ labelling on some of its children’s clothes.

The retailer – which has more than 500 stores nationwide – has agreed to re-label thousands of children’s dressing-up outfits after pressure from Pinkstinks and the group’s 13,000 supporters.

Sainsbury’s has now admitted that its gender-specific product-labelling was ‘not acceptable’. The store was selling princess outfits and a ‘circa 1940s’ nurse outfit labelled GIRLS, while pilots, superheroes, soldiers and most astonishing of all, even doctors white coats were marked BOYS.

Abi Moore, Pinkstinks co-founder said: “We asked what sort of message this was sending to girls about what they are ‘fit’ for and what their aspirations might be. As far as we are aware, there are more women at medical school than men nowadays.

“On our website – - one of our most popular role models is Flight Lieutenant Kirsty Moore, the first female Red Arrows pilot. An amazing achievement and yet Sainsbury’s pilots’ outfits were also labelled ‘boys’. As were the army outfits even though women have been fighting alongside men at the front line for years.

“We simply drew to Sainsbury’s attention the fact that it would be a hugely confident and independent little girl who would dare risk the ridicule of her friends by asking for a costume in-store clearly ‘meant’ for boys, no matter how much she wanted to dress up like a doctor, while the nurses outfit sends a message to boys that they are not ‘meant’ to be nurses either.”

Sainsbury’s has pledged the outfits with new non-gender specific labels will be in-store from July.

Sainsbury’s customer director, Gwyn Burr, told Pinkstinks: “It isn't acceptable to suggest certain professions are the reserve of any gender.

“This is an error and one I am seeking to address ASAP. The new labels which will be non gender specific will go on the next allocation of clothing, so will be in store from July.”

Says Abi: “Though this may seem trivial, it is important. This kind of labelling is part of the drip, drip of messages that girls (and boys) receive on a daily basis about their roles in life and the expectations that they should have. Pinkstinks is committed to tackling any kind of gender stereotyping, in particular that which is aimed at children, which we see as damaging, limiting or just plain old-fashioned.

“We want to congratulate Sainsbury’s on its swift action to redress this
matter and hope other retailers will follow their lead. We will be

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