The BABIES Act requires for both men’s and women’s restrooms in public buildings to contain baby changing tables.
Though talk about gender inequality often leads to discussion about how women are paid less in the workplace, men, too, can be victims of discrimination. For example, women are often given paid maternity leave, but it’s rare for a father to be offered paid time off to bond with their newborn. Additionally, many women’s public restrooms have baby changing stations installed whereas it’s rare to find the same in a men’s restroom.
To ensure fathers have the same opportunity to care for their newborns and toddlers while outside of the home, President Obama recently signed into law the Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation Act, aka the BABIES Act. As Huffington Post reports, the legislation requires that both men’s and women’s restrooms in publicly accessible federal buildings contain baby changing tables.
Congressman David N. Cicilline first introduced the bill earlier this year. At the time of its introduction, he stated:
“Government needs to do more to ensure that public buildings are family-friendly. No mom or dad should ever have to worry about finding a safe, sanitary place to change their baby.”
According to the BABIES Act, a changing facility is “a table or other device suitable for changing the diaper of a child age 3 or under.” The law mandates that all stations must be “physically safe, sanitary and appropriate.”
Advocation by celebrities, politicians and bloggers helped propel the rate at which this law was introduced and approved. As you might remember, actor and activist Ashton Kutcher complained about the lack of changing tables for fathers in 2015 and later launched a Change.org campaign to remedy the problem.
Additionally, HuffPost blogger and father Doyin Richards has been an outspoken activist about this topic for years. In 2014, he wrote:
“Dads are more involved today than ever. We love our kids and we want to have all of the tools at our disposal that moms have to be the best parents we can be. Equal access to changing tables are a big part of the discussion.”
Thanks to activists’ efforts, potty parity is finally being realized.
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