What women want: More toilets

A new bill calls for "potty parity" in federal buildings

By Tracy Clark-Flory
March 19, 2010 3:01PM (UTC)
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On Thursday, a bipartisan group of Congress members teamed up to introduce a measure called -- now try to suppress the giggles -- "The Potty Parity Act." Despite having a name that could crack up a room of preschoolers, the bill actually addresses serious cases of sex discrimination ... that just happen to involve bathrooms.

As ABC News reports, the measure would "require all newly constructed or leased federal buildings to have a 1 to 1 ratio for toilets, including urinals, in women's and men's restrooms." National Organization for Women spokesperson Erin Matson explains that "federal buildings continue to have far more restrooms for men than for women because they were built during a time when there was an assumption that women didn't really need to be in there." Unfortunately, this measure won't do anything to address that anachronism, but it will prevent that, uh, latrine legacy from being carried on.


All in all, the measure's aim pretty modest, especially when you consider that many attempts have been made nationwide to institute a 2 to 1 ratio for public restrooms, since women spend twice as much time in them than men. (This makes sense when you factor in periods, breastfeeding and the fact that moms are more often charged with taking the kids to go potty.) A previous draft of the bill actually called for a 2 to 1 ratio, as well as applying the standard beyond just federal buildings, but it was met with resistance.

So, now we have a no-duh bill that calls for the most basic level of commode equality. As for when women will be able to breeze into public bathrooms without a wait just like men? Well, don't hold ... it.

Tracy Clark-Flory

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