Two month old twin baby sister and broth
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The Gender Code

What is The Gender Code?

There are lots of visual clues to help us spot harmful gender-based marketing in children’s clothing, footwear and accessories. Some are more obvious than others, from in-store Girl and Boy signage to pink or blue options of the same product. We call this The Gender Code, and it’s widespread across the UK high street. 


Nearly all the biggest names in childrenswear use gender marketing to design and sell their products. This means choice is limited to one set of stereotypes or another, i.e. Girl or Boy.

"Retailers have got so good at gender coding their products, that shoppers don't even notice that its there. You'd be forgiven for thinking that all girls identify with pink and flowers, and boys with blue and cars, because those messages are everywhere. Its only when you stop and realise that this is based on gender marketing and not in nature that you realise how little choice we actually have. Once you see the gender code, you can't un-see it."

Francesca Mallen, Lead Campaigner and Founder of Let Clothes Be Clothes

What does the Gender Code look like?

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Spaceman (Left) and Astronaut (Right) PJ's from Marks and Spencer (2017)