Diaper changing station is not something you can expect to find in a gent’s toilet. Despite the fact that fathers are becoming more and more involved in taking care of the babies, the gender stereotype hasn’t changed when it comes to placing these facilities in public.
Fathers are equally important for any child and it is unfair to exclude them from taking these responsibilities. In fact, the ones that are not usually doing it for their babies may also find it more convenient and acceptable to join the brigade of fathers who do not shy away from doing it, if only the set up is changed to provide equal opportunities to both father and mother to do this very common task for their babies when out in public. At least in Scandinavia, it is very common to see Dads entering baby lounges and changing diapers. Sadly, it is not so in rest of the world.
Even in a developed country like the United States, the actor Ashton Kutcher offered to do free publicity to the first public’s men’s room that provides the diaper changing station. This confirms that fathers are denied of this opportunity almost everywhere else in the world.
In the world where we have single fathers raising babies from their birth, one can imagine their plight due to this gender dictated set up. Families are more diverse now and women deserve to be supported by men in these daily tasks and in fact men deserve to offer their support. If not a diaper changing station in men’s room, there should be one room which is accessible to both men and women for this facility.
It is not a widely discussed issue but the right awareness in this direction will help rectify this gender discrimination. Men and women are equally contributing to society when it comes to family life as well as corporate world. Restricting access for these facilities to only women is definitely not helping create the right environment for upcoming generation. Our kids need to know that the responsibilities aren’t decided based on one’s gender.
If we look at the traditional old practices, a father was supposed to earn for the family and all other ‘homely’ chores like cooking, cleaning, raising children were motherly responsibilities. If the situation has changed at home, isn’t it the time that we also change it in public.
The good news is that several men came up in support of Ashton Kutcher’s online petition that demanded equal opportunities for Dads to access diaper changing facilities and it ended in a success. All the new or remodeled stores are to have a family toilet (with a diaper changing station). But this is not the end, the change also needs to come in the way we think.
The child care process should become more gender unbiased at home as well as in public and men should be able to proudly accept that ‘they do change diapers’.