On July 28, 2011 Room H211 in the House of Representatives opened for business. If you are thinking it’s a room for legislators to battle the debt ceiling in, you are wrong. It is far more important than that… it is the new women’s bathroom.
For the first time in history, and after four years of campaigning, female legislators can now access a bathroom right across the House floor, just as their male colleagues have been able to do.
For years, the closest women’s restroom was located in the Congressional Women’s Reading Room, which is almost as far as the length of a football field from the House floor. With equal rights in the boardroom gaining speed over the years, one may have thought that equality in the boardroom would have trickled down to equality in the bathroom much sooner.
But, ironically, it wasn’t the former, first ever, female House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who spearheaded the effort to get this facility built. It was her male successor, House Speaker John A. Boehner, who ordered the building of the new restroom, in large part to push for creating what is called “potty parity”. We really can’t make this stuff up.
Just in case you haven’t been following this breaking news… the “Potty Parity Act”, officially called the Restroom Gender Parity in Federal Buildings Act, was introduced last year by Representative Edolphus Towns, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
As the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s website explains, the legislation is designed to provide equal access to public restrooms for men and women in federal buildings. It requires a one-to-one ratio for all toilets in women’s and men’s restrooms, including urinals.
According to Rep. Towns, “As the number of women in all sectors of employment and facets of American life continue to grow exponentially, the Potty Parity Act is necessary not only for the advancement of gender parity, but also to ensure the general well-being and health care of women in our society.”
We have all been forced to wait in too many long lines for restrooms. Whether Republican or Democrat, as far as we’re concerned, having too few female facilities in buildings is a bipartisan issue, and Potty Parity is certainly one issue that we can get behind.
Thank you Speaker Boehner for bringing women more seats in the House!