Women have always been pioneers in the gender equality debate… until now. Parent change rooms are legally open to any caregiver of a young child, regardless of sex. Now, fathers like Ben find themselves on the receiving end of parental discrimination.
Men across Australia have begun expressing a sense of fear and unwelcomeness as a result of incidents of discrimination against fathers in parent change rooms.
Awareness of the issue gained public knowledge after a Queensland father recounted his experience on a Sunshine Coast-based Facebook page which cannot be named.
“She said ‘It’s only for mothers in here! Get out of here, you sicko!’ and said she would call security and say I was staring at her naked kids if I didn’t leave the room”, the father said.
Men have taken to social media to communicate their disaffection with the continuing problem.
“I’ve had security called on me for taking my daughter into a parents’ room to change her nappy. Security basically told her to pull her head in as I was clearly changing a baby.” – Ben
“A lady asked me why I couldn’t be changing my son’s nappy in the men’s restrooms. My response to her was that I would if she went and fed her baby in the women’s restrooms.” – Mark
“My hubby’s been given death stares while in the parent’s room changing our daughters’ nappies with me. He changes nappies at home and wherever they need to be changed. He’ll change them in the parents’ room too…” – Sandra
"Dads, granddads, uncles … any caregiver who is looking after a child and needs to take care of a child and use those facilities that are offered in a public setting have access to these types of facilities", says William Barsby, Shine Lawyers discrimination law expert.
An immense amount of support for fathers and male caregivers has surfaced in light of these events. Dads need support just as much as mums do and excluding fathers from parent change room, which are intended for use by a caregiver of any sex, is against anti-discrimination law.