'Potty Parity' hearing set for today
Amid a disastrous oil spill, a Supreme Court nomination and the ongoing financial regulatory reform debate, some lawmakers will spend a few hours on Wednesday worrying about restrooms. Specifically, restrooms in federal buildings.
Crack all the jokes you want, but advocates think it's a big deal. Most federal buildings are about 40 years old and current federal standards still allocate more restrooms for men than women. Legislation introduced by Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) tries to right the imbalance by requiring an equal number of bathroom fixtures for men and women in buildings owned and leased by the feds.
Kathryn H. Anthony, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign School of Architecture, will appear before Towns's House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday to talk about an issue "near and dear to the hearts and bladders of women and children all across the United States," according to her prepared testimony.
The problem is rooted in an era "where women were not as prevalent in the public realm and in the workforce as we are today," she'll say. "Until recently, most architects, contractors, engineers, building code officials, and clients were not concerned about this issue. They rarely contacted women about their restroom needs, women were rarely employed in these male-dominated professions, nor were they in a position to effect change."
The federal government is well behind several states and cities and Japan, where public restrooms are "integral parts of the urban landscape," according to Anthony.
"If it were up to me, constructing cutting-edge, well designed, safe 21st century public restrooms should be part of another national stimulus package." Hmm... really?
Is "potty parity" worthy of Congressional concern? Have you had issues with this problem?
Leave your thoughts in the comments section below
• Question of the Week: How will the federal base realignment and closing plans affect your commute, if at all? Will it make your ride to work longer or shorter? E-mail your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org and please include your full name, home town and the agency for which you work. We might include your response in Friday's Washington Post.
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| May 12, 2010; 5:56 AM ET
Categories: Eye Opener, Workplace Issues
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