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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

May-13-10

Hearing Held on Gender Parity in Federal Building Restroom Facilities

Congress held a hearing yesterday on the "Restroom Gender Parity in Federal Buildings Act," which would require a one-to-one ratio for toilets in women and men's bathroom facilities in federal buildings. The bill, sponsored by Representative Edolphus Towns (D-NY), requires any buildings constructed, undergoing major renovations, or leased, to be constructed "in such a way that the number of toilets in women's restrooms will equal or exceed the number of toilets (including urinals) in men's restrooms."

During the hearing, Kathryn Anthony, a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne architecture professor, said "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." reported the Washington Post. During the hearing, increased risk of urinary tract infections, cystitis, abdominal pain, or other health problems associated with long lines at restrooms were also mentioned.

According to Huliq, Towns said last month that disparate restroom facilities have long "served as manifestations of more deeply rooted problems of discrimination among race, physical ability and gender."

Media Resources: Washington Post 5/12/10; HR 4869; Huliq 5/12/10


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