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#tbt: ‘Go Time’ for the Ladies


At least that was some of the thinking back in our Jan. 29, 2007 HOH, when we observed that a member of the House had taken an interest in gender equity when it came to bathrooms.  

“Go Time. Hey ladies, you’ve got a new champion on Capitol Hill, fighting for your equality. No, it’s not one of the record-setting number of female Members of the House and Senate. It’s Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), who is tired of seeing you have to to wait in line when you have to, you know, ‘go.’  

Last week, Towns dropped H.R. 693, a bill ‘to amend title 40, United States Code, to require restroom gender parity in federal buildings.’  

Apparently it has come to Towns’ attention that there are often an insufficient number of bathrooms — or more specifically, stalls — for women despite the fact that evolution, or God, or Tom Cruise, or whoever saw fit to make women need more time to relieve themselves than men.  

‘He was just saying he was in an airport and he saw this long line of women at the restroom,’ explained Towns spokeswoman Denise Mixon. ‘There are people who have health issues who cannot wait to go.’  

So what would Towns’ bill do? Legalize the practice of women barging into men’s bathrooms at bars in Adams Morgan? Not exactly.  

What the bill says is that, from now on, any new building that is constructed with at least $1.5 million in federal funding must include at least two bathroom stalls for women for every one stall for men. (Relax, guys, urinals don’t count. And trees remain available, though perhaps illegal. HOH does not condone breaking of any laws.)  

Apparently Towns’ co-sponsor on the bill, freshman Rep. Yvette Clark (D-N.Y.), pushed similar legislation when she was on the New York City Council, so she knows the issue well.  

HOH looks forward to potential hearings on the subject and wonders whether the witnesses will drink all the water that will be placed before them.”  

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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