‘It Was Never a Dress’ Ingeniously Updates Women’s Room Symbol

Forget what you think you know about that triangular shape associated with the ladies’ room.
(Photo: Getty Images)
May 3, 2015· 1 MIN READ
Samantha Cowan is an associate editor for culture.

When you head to a public restroom, the clothing choice of the small figure indicates which room you should choose, men’s or women’s. While the male symbol wears pants, the female figure’s dress might feel a bit outdated and limiting.

Flipping the dress idea on its head, an Arizona tech company, Axosoft, debuted its newly designed bathroom symbol at Arizona’s Girls in Tech Conference this week.

As it turns out, that triangle was never a dress in the first place.

The new image turns the dress into a cape, implying that women can be superheroes or whatever else they choose.

“In science, technology, arts, mathematics, politics, houses of worship, on the streets, and in our homes, insightful women are often uninvited, overlooked, or just plain dismissed,” Axosoft explains on the campaign’s website.

Girls and women interested in science, technology, engineering, and math are an underrepresented minority, with women making up less than a quarter of the professionals working in STEM careers in the U.S.

With an ever-growing need for technology experts, the White House launched a 2013 initiative to support STEM education for girls specifically. Yet just this week, two female scientists had their paper on gender bias rejected. The reviewer suggested that they needed a man to coauthor their study, proving that even accomplished women aren’t taken seriously because of their gender.

“It’s so hard for women to be in this space,” Lawdan Shojaee, Axosoft’s CEO (and a woman), told Phoenix Business Journal. “We want to make sure women’s voices are heard.”

The campaign’s mission is to foster conversations about welcoming all women into any career they choose. And it’s not just about women’s equality—it’s about making sure America has a big enough workforce to fill up the estimated 9 million STEM jobs that will exist by 2022.