Thankfully, if this story is any indication, we're on the right path. Justin Simard, a dad from Prince Edward Island, Canada, was out shopping at a Sobeys supermarket with his 9-month-old son when he came across a sign that devalued his role in his child's life.
The dad posed in front of a parking sign indicating that "expecting mothers and mothers with small children" could park in the designated spot. "@sobeys crap, am I allowed to park here? #notababysitter #dadissues," he tweeted alongside the image.
"The intention behind my tweet was to draw attention to the subtext of the sign, it's almost accidental sexism," Simard told Parents. "The letter was pink, and the second line that was gendered, 'mothers with small children' implies that raising children is woman's work. I couldn't disagree more, and impulsively tweeted a light hearted tweet to that effect."
Simard didn't expect the tweet to become a catalyst for change, but that's what happened: Sobeys immeadiately replied to his tweet and promised to change the signage. The store's team replied to the original tweet with: "You are definitely entitled to that parking spot, Justin! Which location was this so we can update the signage? #SuperDad."
"What impressed me was the speed, and quality of their reply—they acknowledged that the courtesy spot was intended for pregnant mothers and parents with small children," Simard said.
It just goes to show: It pays to speak out against sexist parenting messages like this one. Making our voices heard can lead to positive change.
"I'm blown away at the interest that the interaction garnered, and a bit relieved," Simard added. "Of the interactions I've had, and comments I've read, 98 percent of them are supportive about inclusive language for all caregivers of children."