Is nappy changing “women’s work” in your home?
Earlier this month Barack Obama signed a bill that requires public buildings to provide baby changing stations in both male and female toilets. This followed a year of championing by American celebrities and public figures to make changing rooms more accessible.
A petition was raised by BeTheChange who say that the assumption that a woman will change the baby’s nappy is gender stereotyping and that all family diversities should be supported in caring for their children.
So I wondered – would this change in the UK make any difference to you and the way you share the crappy task of nappy clean?
At home my partner changed all the nappies if he was with us – we figured (or perhaps I just told him?) that I did my fair share whilst he was at work. The only exceptions were
- Overnight as I was breastfeeding and it seemed pointless to wake him just to change the baby’s bum
- If we were out – because there were few facilities available – usually part of the women’s toilets – and no way would even my laziness stretch to my baby being changed on a public male toilet floor (although I have it on good authority they are cleaner than the female counterparts? )
Al Ferguson – a UK dad, secretly filmed his experiences of trying to access nappy change areas after struggling to find somewhere suitable when looking after his 18 month son Ted. Having founded the “dad network” he soon discovered that many other fathers had the same complaint and frustrations. Together they are creating a map of the UK which celebrates good provision as well as naming and shaming those buildings that didn’t.
Brighton and Hove Council are committed to “family friendly public toilets” – which not only means accessible changing rooms, but also child cubicles, toddler seats and unisex feeding rooms. This led me to wonder what happens in France? On a recent visit we stopped at a service station which had enormous queues for the “ladies” but no waiting for the men’s. I queued like a true Brit – watching on enviously as dozens of women of all ages happily filed into the men’s room whilst I desperately crossed my legs and hopped about whilst wishing I had the audacity to join them! I wonder if they had a changing table in there as well?
Would accessible changing tables make no difference to your family at all? Do you already share the “poo load” equally, or is it possible that some guys still refuse to help out and see it as “women’s work?”
Is this one of those subtle changes they actually sends a subliminal but powerful message out that equal rights means shared nappy changing??