Symbols have been used for a very long time. For some things, one gender is always used out of habit. For example, road signs mark pedestrian paths with a picture of a mother and child. That doesn’t mean men are not allowed to go there. There is a picture of a man on the pedestrian crossing sign. Of course, all pedestrians are allowed to cross the road by this sign, not just men. But there are also signs that some people are not yet used to. That’s why it’s better if symbols don’t create confusion, but include both the female and male gender. In other words: good symbols are gender neutral.
Let’s see what happened to a little boy in a restaurant.
A mother, father and their 4-year-old son go to a restaurant for lunch. The food they ordered is delicious. Everyone is happy.
At one point, son Martin wants to go to the toilet. There are three toilet doors. There are pictures on the doors showing which toilet is for men and which is for women. The third is the children’s cubicle, but it only has a picture of a girl on the door. Martin is confused. He asks where the boys’ cubicle is. Why is there only a picture of a girl on the door? Martin doesn’t want to go to the girls’ toilet!
Mother explains to Martin that this cubicle is for all children. The picture of a girl does not mean that only girls can use this toilet. Martin disagrees. He doesn’t want to go to the girls’ cubicle. Eventually, Martin agrees to go to the cubicle with the girl’s picture, but he doesn’t like it.
There is a simple solution to this problem! A picture of a boy and a girl can be put on the door of the children’s toilet. Then no one will feel uncomfortable.