Two bills currently under consideration in California would help ensure that couples can more equally share childcare responsibilities. Under the legislation, which cleared a Senate committee on Tuesday, men would gain access to baby changing tables in public places.
The first measure, Senate Bill 1358, would require public facilities — including movie theaters, sports arenas, libraries, and restaurants — to make sure there are changing stations “accessible to both men and women.” Senate Bill 1350 doesn’t require public buildings to go back and add changing stations to existing bathrooms, but specifies that changing tables should be “equally available or provided regardless of the gender for which the restroom facilities are designed” if they’re being added in the future.
Sen. Ricardo Lara, who’s sponsoring SB 1350, explained to Fox News that this type of legislation simply accommodates modern families.
“As the demographics of the modern American family evolve, traditional gender roles with women as the primary caregiver for the children are changing, and men are becoming more and more involved in the care of their young children,” he explained in a statement. “There are also a growing number of same-sex households with children.”
Some California dads say they struggle to figure out how to change their kids when they’re out in public. Without designated changing areas in men’s restrooms, some of them say they’re forced to change diapers on the dirty bathroom floor. But critics of the proposed legislation — which Fox News is referring to as “the diaper mandate” — argue it represents a costly and unnecessary regulation on businesses.
Although fathers are increasingly playing a hands-on role in parenting, and now take on three times as much childcare as they did in 1965, women still tend to do more unpaid labor like childcare and housework. However, there’s increasing evidence that same-sex marriages can help promote partnerships that are free from traditional gender roles. Children who grow up with two dads or two moms end up feeling less constrained by rigid ideas about what men and women should be like.