Congress tackles "potty parity" issue in Federal buildings

Sandy Smith's picture

Has the fight for equal rights for women gone into the toilet? Yes -- and Congress, not wanting to miss out on a trend, has now taken up the cause of equal public restrooms for women, or "potty parity."

Hearings are scheduled to begin today on the “Potty Parity Bill” – legislation designed to eliminate inferior toilet facilities for women in Federal government buildings. The issue of restroom equality has gained traction in recent years as theatergoers, restaurant patrons, sports fans and others have noticed long lines forming outside women’s restrooms while men’s room traffic flows normally. quotes Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY), who is co-sponsor of the Potty Parity Bill with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), as saying he is concerned that "exasperating lines" were "an inconvenience seen in almost every type of public building." Towns and Issa are the chair and ranking member, respectively, of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is holding the hearings on the subject.

In a statement last month, Towns said that the discrepancies in restroom facilities “have served as manifestations of more deeply rooted problems of discrimination among race, physical ability and gender.”

The Potty Parity Bill would mandate that all Federal government buildings have comparable restrooms for men and women. Until recently, building codes often failed to take into account differences in how women and men use restrooms, resulting in overcrowding and lines for the women’s rooms at events and facilities that attract large numbers of people.

Written by Sandy Smith

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