I just got back from a week in New York City with my wife, in which, among other things, we went to see five Broadway shows (I know the best way to get cheap tickets now). It was during the intermission to Rent that it finally hit me that something must be done about a fundamental injustice in our society. It’s a small one to be sure, but I see victory easily at hand.
The injustice: the horribly unfair treatment of women at large events when it comes to washroom space. You’ve seen it before, too, and if you are female have probably grumbled many a time about it. Ostensibly the set-up is fair: there is equal space dedicated to men’s and women’s washrooms. But the men’s usually has no or a very fast-moving line, compared to the women’s, because, well, you know why. With a fifteen-minute intermission at a Broadway show, the inevitable result is that many women have to return to their seats in the dark after the second act has started.
I polled some of the others at the show, and men and women alike were in agreement that women’s bathrooms deserve roughly three times the space as men’s in order for things to be fair. So we shouldn’t stand (or sit?) for this any longer.
We need a campaign, and I think the outlines of that campaign go something like this. We launch a boycott of operations of large theatres and other venues until they guarantee that they will expand their washroom space for women, taking from the men’s if necessary. This is a big project so in the interim, women should have full rights to use the stalls in the men’s room (at last year’s CEA meetings, I stayed in the Dalhousie student dorm and found that the unisex bathrooms worked quite well). If that is not in your comfort zone, perhaps women-only porta-potties should be installed in a convenient location.
Perhaps this campaign needs its own Rosa Parks, a women who just is not going to take it any more. But I’m an economist not an organizer, so gentle readers, who is willing to take up the cause?
- Women On Top, By the Numbers (March 8th, 2013)
- Fairness by design: a framework for tax reform in Canada (February 14th, 2013)
- Tax and the Top 1% (February 1st, 2013)
- Canada’s bloated 1 per cent (January 31st, 2013)
- Wealth Inequality and Neo Liberalism (January 25th, 2013)