Further changes in gender roles likely will prove commercially disruptive.
According to Teknion Textiles (San Francisco, California) creative director and design consultant Suzanne Tick, some societies are going through a gender revolution. Cultural shifts and technology advances are challenging traditional masculine and feminine identities, and the societal roles and norms that accompany these identities are changing. She suggests that some societies are entering a postgender era in which boys look like girls, girls look like boys, and androgyny is common.
Tick points to several recent developments such as college students’ abandoning the use of gender-specific name prefixes and pronouns. She believes that the need for gender-neutral and gender-sensitive designs is increasing; however, because of legacy issues, male needs still dictate the design of office spaces. Although about 85% of tech workers at top companies are male, barriers and hierarchies are starting to dissolve as women become more prominent, and significant changes are occurring.
Interestingly, bathroom designs have become a prominent illustration of gender-related shifts. Companies such as Google are now adopting gender-neutral or unisex bathrooms in addition to conventional ones, attempting to ensure that all employees feel comfortable. Bathrooms have also become a battleground for social acceptance.
In Florida and Texas, lawmakers are attempting to pass legislation that would prohibit transgender people from using bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity. In a collective attempt to challenge the proposed laws, transgender people have started taking bathroom selfies and posting them on social-media networks.