GENDER EQUITY - CO-ED LOCKER ROOMS
The issue of co-ed dressing arrangements in locker rooms often arises, and USA Hockey is frequently asked to provide some type of guideline about dealing with such situations. Teams, leagues, associations and USA Hockey need to recognize that there are gender equity issues to deal with when managing a co-ed locker room setting. Both female and male privacy rights must be given consideration and appropriate arrangements made. USA Hockey’s member organizations should consider the following:
1. Recognize that it is an issue that must be dealt with and that favoring one group over another can produce legal ramifications;
2. Recognize that the ideal situation of using two, separate dressing rooms is not possible in many ice rink/arena settings;
3. Recognize that it is an issue that will increase in visibility as girls’/ women’s participation in USA Hockey continues to grow; and
4. Recognize that it is an issue for members who are participating as players, coaches and officials.
Some acceptable approaches, arrived at in conjunction with the Girls Section/ Council, the Coaching Education Program and the Officiating Program, are as follows:
NOTE: Arrange to provide properly screened adults as locker room monitors who are of the same sex as the children they are supervising/monitoring. Make certain that locker rooms are monitored in accordance with the USA Hockey SafeSport Program policies.
A. Where possible, have the male and female players undress/dress in separate locker rooms; then convene in a single dressing room to hold the coach’s pregame meeting;
B. Once the game is finished, hold the coach’s post-game meeting; then have the male and female players proceed to their separate dressing rooms to undress and shower (separately), if available.
C. In those cases where separate facilities are not available, have one gender enter the locker room and change into their uniforms. That gender then leaves the locker room, while the other gender dresses. Both genders would then assemble in the locker room and hold the coach’s pre-game meeting.
D. Following the game and the coach’s post-game meeting, where separate facilities are not available, the second gender group enters the locker room and undresses, while the first group waits outside until they have undressed and left the room. Once the second group leaves, the first group enters the locker room and undresses.
E. If sharing one locker room, have a minimum attire policy. All players should be required to arrive at the rink or change in a separate area so that prior to entering the locker room they are wearing their hockey base layers or shorts and t-shirts (in good condition - no holes or tears in clothing). All members of the team must have this minimum attire before entering a co-ed locker room so that no player has the opportunity to see players of the opposite gender in a state of dress/undress.
NOTE: Taking turns or requiring minimum attire is a means of ‘reasonable accommodation,’ so neither gender group is favored.
Failing to establish some type of similar procedure, or failure to seriously consider the privacy issues will likely lead to complaints and/or lawsuits. By being proactive on this issue, everyone [coaches, players, officials, volunteers and parents] can enjoy the sport without the worry of legal actions or the invasion of privacy concerns arising.
Lastly, reinforce to all players, coaches, officials, volunteers and parents that your organizations are going to take this issue seriously. It is not acceptable for members to be observing the opposite gender while they dress or undress. Members and volunteers who violate USA Hockey’s policies, or who violate the privacy rights of others, could be subject to appropriate discipline.
This policy comes from USA Hockey.