Exclusive: The company famous for its Swedish meatballs and Allen keys is about to roll out new parking signs across its stores in support of the LGBT+ community.

In new photos obtained by News Corp Australia, homeware giant IKEA will begin labelling its family-friendly parking spaces according to gender, such as 'Family Gender Mixed', 'Family with Pram Gender Women' and 'Family with Pram Gender Men'.

IKEA Australia's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Leader Alice Young said the new signage is a global initiative, offering non-heteronormative options.

"Family car spaces are already existing in our stores, and we work with customers to ensure they are utilised in the right way," she said.

"The new family icons simply represent a more inclusive and diverse representation of what a 'family' looks like in Australia, and will continue to operate in the same way as our existing spaces."

 

The new car parking signs at IKEA to be known as ‘Family with Pram Gender Women’. Picture: Supplied
The new car parking signs at IKEA to be known as ‘Family with Pram Gender Women’. Picture: Supplied

 

The new car parking signs at IKEA to be known as ‘Family with pram gender men’. Picture: Supplied
The new car parking signs at IKEA to be known as ‘Family with pram gender men’. Picture: Supplied

 

The new car parking signs at IKEA to be known as ‘Family Gender Mixed’. Picture: Supplied
The new car parking signs at IKEA to be known as ‘Family Gender Mixed’. Picture: Supplied

 

Last year IKEA introduced gender-neutral bathrooms labelled 'All gender toilet' in their stores for staff and customers not wanting to use a male or female toilet.

The bathroom option was a local decision which has been adopted overseas by other IKEA stores.

"We want people to feel safe, comfortable and accepted at IKEA," she said.

"Not having a designated bathroom space can be confronting for members of the LGBT+ community who might be non-binary or trans."

Ms Young also said staff are being encouraged to adopt pronouns on their social media and work email (he/him/his or she/her/hers).

Ikea gender neutral bathroom sign titled ‘All gender toilet’. Picture: Supplied
Ikea gender neutral bathroom sign titled ‘All gender toilet’. Picture: Supplied

"Customers will not see staff wearing their pronouns on their name tags, it is voluntary and they can do on their social media or work email if they feel comfortable," she said.

The new measures are part of its Progress is Made campaign, which coincides with the company's celebration of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) on Monday.

On the day they will fly the Progress Pride flag at their stores and offer rainbow-coloured receipts and shopping bags.

 

An image of a receipt IKEA will be printing across all stores from Monday with rainbow colours and a rainbow bag - in support of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia 2021 (IDAHOT Day). Picture: Supplied
An image of a receipt IKEA will be printing across all stores from Monday with rainbow colours and a rainbow bag - in support of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia 2021 (IDAHOT Day). Picture: Supplied

 

She said IKEA staff would also be undertaking more unconscious bias education this year with a particular module on trans inclusion.

"We already have unconscious bias training, but we want to build on that," she said.

"We want to give a trans inclusion toolkit to managers, so if they have a co-worker who comes to them and says they are on a journey to transition, they know how to support them."

Workplace and social affairs expert Professor Gary Martin said most organisations had a long way to go when it came to creating an environment that is inclusive of how an individual perceives their gender identity.

"Many organisations fail to understand that although gender has traditionally been divided into 'male' and 'female', it's now widely recognised that gender is not that simple and that there are a diverse range of gender identities," he said.

"However, increasingly organisations accept that the conversation around gender is changing and one that will reshape their futures - and they are taking steps to embrace employees with various gender identities.

"They recognise fairness and inclusion is not only the right thing to do - it's actually good for business.

"Diversity champions are a great start to creating workplaces that embrace gender diversity, as is diversity training and unconscious bias education.

"Champions can have a significant role in killing off misconceptions and creating a workplace culture of inclusiveness."

Originally published as IKEA's massive parking shake-up and gender neutral loos