Sept 2020 NZ Herald

K Mart dollsKmart's new line of fashion dolls includes ones with disabilities

Kmart is on a mission to widen the diversity in its toy collection with a new line of fashion dolls with disabilities. The line of disability dolls is a first for Kmart, which has also previously released collections of wooden families featuring two mums and two dads, in an effort to show diversity and inclusivity in its range of children's toys.

The new line of dolls includes an amputee doll, a visually-impaired doll with glasses and a cane, a doll with crutches and one wearing a cochlear implant. According to Kmart's retail director for Australia and New Zealand, John Gualtieri, the company is "on a mission" to create products that are meaningful for customers, "products that represent the world we live in and reflect the rich diversity of all of our wonderful Kmart communities. We want all of our customers, especially our littlest ones, to be able to find products that they can truly relate to; and we're committed to championing inclusion and diversity to make sure this happens," Gualtieri said in a statement.

"To evolving and expanding our representation of diversity in toys and dolls, to more accurately reflect people of different ages, genders, ethnicities, abilities and sexual orientations," he added.

According to Gualtieri, the new dolls help children celebrate the things that make them different and unique and he hopes they help "remove some of the stigma around disability".

Visually impairedThe collection includes a visually-impaired doll

visualKmart says it wants all children to see themselves in its new line of dolls

"We've dressed them in trendy outfits and named them 'Fashion Dolls', to show they are just like their able-bodied friends," he said. "We want children to see themselves represented in these dolls and we want to help them learn more about people who are different to themselves. It's so important for kids to see toys and dolls with disabilities; to have them play in their imaginary world and then normalise it for real life.” The retail director says Kmart has been "on a journey with diversity for some time" and admits there is "always more work to be done". "We know that families come in all different shapes and sizes and we want our product ranges to reflect and celebrate that."

The fashion dolls with disabilities are available in stores and online via the Kmart website for $6 each.

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