Diaper changing is a responsibility both parents share, regardless of gender. Newsflash: Men change diapers too. Unfortunately, most public men’s restrooms are not equipped with diaper changing stations.
New York is addressing the matter with a new 2019 law because fathers creating makeshift diaper changing stations have become an inconvenient necessity.
Last year, Donte Palmer shared a photo of himself squatting on the floor of a restroom to change his son’s diaper. Palmer, who is also a Jacksonville high school teacher, was not alone. The photo quickly went viral when another Instagram account reposted it with the hashtag #squatforchange.
THERE SHOULD BE A CHANGING TABLE IN EVERY RESTROOM, MEN/WOMEN BOTH!!!! DONT YOU KNOW THERE ARE DADDIES CHANGING DIAPERS TOO !!!! https://t.co/et38apVgIB
— Shelbs ⚡️ (@ShelbyLaraine) September 29, 2018
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced in April that all new public buildings should include diaper changing stations as a part of the 2018 Women’s Agenda.
New York legislation, passed back in April 2018, requires all new bathrooms to include a diaper changing station in men's bathrooms. It goes into affect in the new year.
Do you want to see this happen for bathrooms in Michigan and Indiana? https://t.co/I63Zk2gG15
— WSBT (@WSBT) December 31, 2018
According to a statement, Cuomo said:
“New York proudly leads the nation in fighting for the rights of working parents, and by ensuring access to these amenities, we will help ensure all New Yorkers can give their children the care they need at this critical stage of their lives.”
“This legislation supports our efforts to make New York the nation’s model for working parents, and helps make it a stronger, fairer and more equal state for all.”
All parents deserve a clean, safe space to take care of their baby’s needs.
We’re ensuring equal access to these amenities so all New Yorkers can give their children the care they need at this critical stage of their lives. pic.twitter.com/WW0lDZK104
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) April 5, 2018
FINALLY. New York now requires new mens' bathroom to include a baby changing table. https://t.co/njntz5io1c
— Henry Williams (@digitalhen) January 2, 2019
ABC news said that with the new law in place, New York state building codes will require all new and renovated buildings to be outfitted with changing tables in restrooms for both men and women.
Changing diapers is not just a woman’s job. Jezebel noted the law’s implementation is a reflection of evolving parental norms. The article also referenced a 2018 Pew Research study of U.S. census data indicating that 17% of all stay-at-home parents in 2016 were fathers, a 10% increase from 1989.
The new law was a long-time coming.
Been so tired of changing my kids in my lap or inventing some makeshift table to use. Long-overdue with this—New York to Require Changing Tables in Men's Restrooms | https://t.co/T9YIBR2jt8 https://t.co/uyDgtoJTvF
— Carlos Andrés Gómez (@CarlosAGLive) January 2, 2019
Soon, dads in New York won't need to balance their kids on the sink to change their diapers. https://t.co/oQhFHMe09H
— KATU News (@KATUNews) December 31, 2018
LATE AS ALWAYS
— Dani I am WOMEN (@danimrq46) January 3, 2019
This is a huge win.
— Alison Weir (@weiram) January 3, 2019
— Colm McCarthy (@colmjmccarthy) January 3, 2019
Yes! no more changing diapers on some nasty floor. WA where you at? https://t.co/Kpgicx4dxg
— Jeffrey Spector (@jeffreyspector) January 3, 2019
Sen. Brad Hoylman, who is a gay father, initially introduced the bill and issued a statement, saying, “Dads need to step up and do their part of the dirty work.”
“Governor Cuomo and the legislature are taking an important step in recognizing changing parental norms, including a new generation of gay dads like me who no longer should have to change their babies on the bathroom floor because there’s no changing station in the men’s restroom.”
Holylman mentioned that half of the American workforce constitute of women and “serve as breadwinners for 40 percent of households.”
“Yet, despite this rebalancing of responsibilities, society still places a disproportionate share of parental obligations on women. If we expect fathers to bear more of the burden of child-care, we must ensure that public accommodations reflect this new normal.”
Gay dads like my husband & me may never have to change diapers on a bathroom floor👇🏻👇🏻again! @NYGovCuomo budget mirrors my legislation (S574) requiring new buildings to have baby changing tables in public restrooms for both women & men. #pottyparity pic.twitter.com/blQPy34OOw
— Senator Brad Hoylman (@bradhoylman) January 23, 2018
While we still have a ways to go for gender-neutral bathrooms becoming a norm, we are making strides in baby steps.