The gender-neutral products being advertised by some brands on the market are “feminine”.
However, this may be because they are products that are aimed at women, such as car decal and feminine hygiene care.
The Gender Neutral Labelling Scheme for Car Decals and feminine Care Products has come into force since 2016.
The scheme states that: “a car decale is an object made of metal or ceramic with a metal handle or wheel, a metal door, and a handle or part that is made of plastic or rubber”.
This is similar to the labels on feminine hygiene items that are designed to make them feminine.
“In a feminine care product, the product may be made of the same material as a car decaled or feminine hygiene product, or made with the same materials as a feminine hygiene item,” the scheme states.
The scheme also states that products made of polystyrene, plastic, rubber or other materials may not be considered feminine.
The Gender Neutral Car Decal scheme states: “Products made of a plastic material, polystyrenic, rubber, or other material are not feminine.”
The gender- neutral car decaling scheme is only available to customers who purchase a product from a registered car decaler.
“If a customer purchases a car dolinger or feminine care decaling from a supplier, they will not be deemed to have purchased the product of their choice,” it states.
“However, they can still be found to have breached the scheme, and the scheme may apply to them,” the Women’s Equality Commission said in its guidance.
The women’s equality watchdog said the scheme “provides some guidance and guidance on what constitutes feminine hygiene, but does not address the fact that gender is a subjective concept and may be influenced by the product”.
The Women’s Justice Initiative, which campaigns against discrimination against women, said that the scheme is an “overcomplicated system of marketing and advertising” and has been “misled and exploited”.
“There is no clear definition of feminine hygiene and there is no standard for what is considered feminine, which makes it difficult for manufacturers to ensure that products are gender neutral,” it said in a statement.
The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) said it was aware of the gender-specific claims made by some women’s groups.
“We are committed to making sure that we comply with the Gender Neutral Label Scheme and take all appropriate steps to ensure the safety of women and children, the environment, and businesses,” it told The Irish Times.
“The DCA takes its responsibilities to safeguard women’s health and safety very seriously.
It is currently in discussions with the Department of Health on this matter.”