A new online petition is calling on Kmart to stop separating boys and girls clothing in stores across Australia.
The campaign wants to see an “inclusive kids’ section” at Kmart that combines all clothing so that parents and children can “choose exactly what they like without arbitrary boundaries”.
The petition is currently being circulated on social media, attracting more than 100 signatures in three days.
A Kmart spokesperson has told 7NEWS.com.au that it is not “our intention to stereotype children based on gender”, adding that the “store layout reflects a majority of the way our Kmart customers shop”.
Started by campaign creator Sarah Rogers, the petition is asking for clothing to be separated by type rather than whether it’s designed for boys or girls.
“It’s time for you to stop classifying children’s clothing by gender,” the petition reads.
“Replace this with one kids’ clothing section, organised by type (e.g. skirts in one area, jeans in another, t shirts in a third, etc.).”
Explaining the argument for change, the petition states that separating clothes by gender may send the “wrong” message to kids.
“Young children are told which colours, clothing styles and even interests they are permitted to have through the choices they have available in their respective gender’s clothing department,” the petition reads.
“Many parents of young boys will tell you their son loves pink, rainbows and flowers but simply cannot wear clothes in these styles like girls do without taking them from the girls’ section, which sends them a strong message that the things they like are “wrong”.
“Similarly, many parents of girls lament the lack of dinosaurs, trucks, and non-frilly styles in the girls’ section.
“This is a problem that has already been addressed by many smaller and independent retailers, who have done away with “girls” and “boys” sections entirely in favour of an inclusive children’s one.
“It is time for Australia’s biggest retailers to follow suit.”
The petition then calls on Kmart to “get rid of the gender separated clothing sections, and let kids choose exactly what they like without arbitrary boundaries”.
One supporter described the boys and girls sections at Kmart as “frustrating”.
“There is nothing more frustrating than shopping for clothes for my toddler and only finding pink and frills in the ‘girls’ section and grey and blue and trucks in the ‘boys’ section,” they said.
“Can we just get a spectrum of colour and images and phrases and sayings for ALL kids please?”
But another Kmart shopper said she preferred having the kids’ sections separated into different genders.
“Many of us prefer the boys’ section and girls’ section separately – easier to find what you want than have it all mixed together,” said one Facebook user.
“If your little girl wants to wear boy clothes, do it, and if your little boy wants to wear girls’ clothes, do it.
“Having them in different sections and getting your child an outfit from a certain section different to their gender does not send a ‘strong message’ that the things they like are ‘wrong’.”
A Kmart spokesperson has told 7NEWS.com.au that the store celebrates inclusion and diversity.
“At Kmart, we are proud to offer customers a wide range of children’s clothing in lots of different styles and it’s certainly not our intention to stereotype children based on gender,” the spokesperson said.
“The store layout reflects a majority of the way our Kmart customers shop and the difference between our boys and girls apparel range (in terms of fit) is marginal, so all customers have the opportunity to shop both areas for children.
“Additionally, we celebrate inclusion and diversity within our marketing campaigns, product packaging and online.”