Ladies' room lines too long, says Rep. Edolphus Towns

Not everyone on Capitol Hill is doing healthcare this week. In fact, one lawmaker was addressing what is a pressing problem for more than half of all Americans: Long lines for the ladies' room.

Rep. Edolphus Towns, (D-N.Y.) who chairs the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, this week introduced a bill commonly referred to as the “Potty Parity Act." If passed, it would require federal buildings to be constructed with equal numbers of toilets, urinals included, in the men's and ladies' rooms.

Towns, who appears to know an awful lot about what it's like to wait in line for the ladies' room, called the inequity, and the resulting squeeze, an, “exasperating ... inconvenience, seen in almost every type of public building.” 

And he's not alone. Two other male lawmakers and one woman co-sponsored the bipartisan measure, which was first introduced in the 110th Congress: The Committee's ranking member, Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), and Reps. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.) and Yvette Clarke (D-NY).

In a statement put out by his office, Towns equated the shortage of ladies room toilets to broader civil rights and gender equality struggles. He also pointed out the potential health hazards of holding it in too long.

If it passes, the implementation of the Potty Parity Act may require that ladies' rooms take up more square footage than men's rooms, due to the relative size of a closed stall to a urinal.

The bill is likely to be a big hit with women who work in public spaces, including some of the older office buildings on Capitol Hill, which were built when the congressional workforce was predominantly male.

As one female congressional staffer joked to ITK, "I've been waiting my whole life for this!"