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Obama quietly signed a bill for new parents everywhere when we weren't looking.

This bill is helping to change antiquated gender norms within families.

Obama quietly signed a bill for new parents everywhere when we weren't looking.

If you’ve ever had to change a child’s diaper in a public bathroom, you know it can be a nightmare if the right equipment isn’t there.

But the Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation (BABIES) Act is a step toward changing that.  

The BABIES Act, quietly signed by President Barack Obama in October 2016, will expand the number of baby changing stations in all publicly accessible federal buildings. This means that buildings like post offices, Social Security offices, and courthouses will have at least one baby changing station on each floor, and they will be in both men and women’s bathrooms.


The bill received mostly bipartisan support, too, a welcome form of relief during such a partisan time.

Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images.

The act is "important to ensure that [bathrooms] are as open, as accessible, and as family-friendly as possible," David N. Cicilline, the Democratic congressman who sponsored the bill wrote in his press release.      

Aside from added convenience, this new bill is also a step toward breaking down a notorious form of sexism.  

Historically speaking, changing tables have more commonly been in women’s bathrooms, further perpetuating the stereotype that women should be responsible for child care outside of the household.

But by putting changing tables in men's bathrooms, too, we can break down the idea that women should always be the primary caretakers for children.  

In 2015, actor Ashton Kutcher launched this discussion publicly by asking stores to make changing stations available for men and women.

His Change.org petition called out the lack of changing tables in mens bathrooms as "gender stereotyping."        

"This assumption" he said, "is gender stereotyping and companies should be supporting all parents that shop at their stores equally — no matter their gender."

Kutcher's simple act led Democratic Sen. Brad Hoylman to launch a bill in 2015 that would make changing tables required in all public restrooms in New York — such as restaurants and theaters — regardless of gender.

While the particular bill is still in committee for the city of New York, Obama's BABIES Act will help change bathrooms in federal buildings all over the U.S. This is good news because it's clear that politicians are realizing that not making family needs accessible to all is a form of gender discrimination.        

The act is also a way of breaking down hypermasculinity, too.  

Hypermasculinty, a term that expresses the exaggeration of stereotypical male behavior such as physical strength, stoicism, and aggression, is often used to put men in a box, ultimately negatively affecting them and those around them.  

Photo via iStock.

When we push the antiquated ideas that women work with the children and men serve as babysitters, we add unnecessary pressure to moms, but we also further perpetuate the idea that being a caring and attentive father somehow makes someone less of a man — an idea that couldn't be further from the truth.          

And this isn't just important for heterosexual couples, either.

Gender norms also plague same-sex relationships. Male same-sex couples, often under pressure to follow archaic masculine or feminine roles, will now have safer and more accessible options for taking care of their little ones in public.    

The bill, which was originally introduced in April, is also a pleasant reminder that our government can in fact work for us when we put partisanship aside and work to improve the lives of citizens around us.    

"This is how government should work to make commonsense reforms that make life easier for the people we serve," Cicilline said.

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Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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I remember being baffled that so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

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It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

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Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

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2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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