Dads' Diaper Dilemma: Why Aren’t There More Changing Tables In Men’s Rooms?
Are some bathrooms sexist?
In the fight for gender equality, women tend to be the ones struggling for justice. But when it comes to changing diapers, dads are the ones finding themselves at a disadvantage.
In women’s restrooms across the country, you’d be hard-pressed to find one that didn’t have a changing table in it. In men’s restrooms, the exact opposite can be said.
Whether it be stay-at-home dads, single dads, gay dads, or just hands-on dads, the need for changing stations in men’s room is an ever-growing problem.
Back in October of 2016, President Obama acknowledged the plight of dedicated dads by signing the Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation Act (a.k.a. the BABIES Act), requiring diaper-changing facilities in most restrooms in public federal buildings.
However, this bathroom bill does not cover restrooms in restaurants, retailers, or other private facilities — still leaving plenty of dads in a messy situation (literally).
Without access to proper changing tables, dads admit to using less than sanitary surfaces to change their babies’ diapers. From filthy floors and cold tile counters to restaurant tables and chairs, the lack of changing stations puts the health of both the babies and the establishments’ patrons at risk.
Actor Ashton Kutcher put a spotlight on this diaper dilemma when he tweeted about his frustration at the lack of men’s room changing stations.
Inspired to change the status quo, he started a petition on Change.org calling for changing tables in men’s bathrooms across major retail stores.
"I would like my daughter to experience a world where gender doesn't dictate one's responsibility or limit one's opportunity," Kutcher wrote. "Having changing tables in men's rooms is just a tiny step in the process of rectifying legacy gender discrimination. Men who are aware of this bias want to participate equally in the child care process and our society should support that. It's time to get our hands dirty.”
By making changing stations more widely available, not only would it make caring for kids easier for committed fathers, but also squash the antiquated gender norm that women should be the sole caregivers of their children.
It’s clear that if society ever wants to see more dads on diaper duty, we have to stand up for potty parity first.
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