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City Will Fund Grant to Put Changing Stations in Men’s Restrooms

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega City Will Fund Grant to Put Changing Stations in Men’s RestroomsPhoto via Flickr Creative Commons.
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Right now, if you’re out and need to change your baby’s diaper, the only place to do it is in the women’s restroom. That’ll be addressed soon, as the City of Columbus readies grant money to put changing stations in 30 city recreation centers and aid small businesses in installing them in men’s restrooms.

“I am excited to announce legislation to fund a new grant program for Columbus small businesses and organizations to increase equal access to diaper changing stations for all parents, guardians, and visitors to the City of Columbus,” Councilmember Michael Stinziano said after the announcement was made at Fifth by Northwest restaurant Sweet Carrot last Thursday, June 15.

Sweet Carrot is a pioneer for the policy, having had changing stations in both bathrooms since their opening.

“Proud to be a part of the Columbus community today and every day as we make positive changes like these!” Sweet Carrot posted on their Facebook page. “And hey…if you need a changing station at Sweet Carrot, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered in both our men’s and women’s restrooms!”

It’s another step toward gender equality after former president Barack Obama signed the Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation Act, requiring federal buildings to have both men’s and women’s restrooms. Just as societal norms have left women out of places of power in government, they’ve placed childcare primarily as a woman’s responsibility. As these ideas slowly adjust, policy tends to lag even more.

The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio, a thought leader for gender issues in the region, released a statement in support of this action by the city:

“Thanks to the restaurant changing station grants proposed by Councilmember Michael Stinziano, our community will continue to disrupt gender norms in our society. The Women’s Fund stands in appreciation and support of the effort by Councilman Stinziano and the City of Columbus for their leadership on this issue.”

The legislation, to be introduced by the end of the month, will fund up to $25,000 of small business grants for two changing stations in each men and women’s restroom, and one changing station in gender-neutral or family restrooms. Businesses will be able to apply in July.

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