Why do only women’s restrooms have changing tables? Last time I checked, most people have a mother and a father (and some two fathers and no mother)! So why are we making it hard for men with babies?
Feminism is about equal rights. Yes, women are generally more oppressed by sexism. But men are oppressed by it too – and this is a perfect example. Where are men supposed to change their babies? In particular, where are men supposed to change their babies when we finally get gender-neutral maternity/paternity leave? This demonstrates just how insidious institutionalized sexism really is, that having changing tables only accessible to women still is the norm.
Last year, Obama passed the BABIES Act – which mandates changing tables in men’s rooms in public federal buildings. That’s great! But that’s still only federal buildings, which are a pretty small percentage of all buildings. In 2014, California’s Governor Jerry Brown vetoed two bills that would have required places with changing tables in women’s restrooms to also have them in men’s restrooms, and newly constructed buildings to have at least one changing station accessible to both women and men…
Come on, we can do better! It’s not fair at the moment, and for as long as we just consider this ‘normal’ it won’t change. Men are parents too, so they should have equal access to changing tables!
P.S. I’d also like to note that I think we should do away with gender-segregated bathrooms entirely, but while they exist we can at least make it easier for men with babies.