Surrounded by several dozen women supporters on the steps of Borough Hall, Rep. Edolphus Towns last week jumped into the bathroom parity issue.
The 24-year incumbent said it was high time that the federal government build more bathrooms for women.
Rep. Yvette Clarke first raised the issue of bathroom parity when she was in the City Council and proposed an ordinance which would change the ratio of bathrooms in public places to two women’s toilets for every one male bathroom.
Dubbed the “Restroom Equity” bill, the proposal, which never passed, cited an academic study on patterns of behavior in the use of bathrooms, which found it frequently takes women twice as long to use the bathroom as it does men.
Under the proposal, public buildings would have been required to keep a 2-1 women-to-men bathroom ratio as best as possible.
Towns said he has seen on several occasions instances where men would be in and out of their respective bathrooms while lines would curl around outside women’s bathrooms.
The federal lawmaker also noted he helped legislate equal pay for women and men on the federal level.
“I say it as long as my tongue clings to the roof of my mouth that this (unequal pay and bathroom access) is wrong,” said Towns.
Among the women leaders wearing a purple ribbon to signify support for Towns were several Brooklyn lawmakers and elected officials including Assemblymembers Annette Robinson and Joan Millman, Councilmember Letitia James, and 52nd Democratic Assembly District Leader Jo Anne Simon.
“Congressman Towns has great energy and is a demonstrated leader on important issues facing the Borough of Brooklyn,” said James, vowing she will work for Towns to garner votes in Fort Greene/Clinton Hill.
Towns said the women’s support means that the work he’s done in Congress is being realized.
“With the change that is likely to come to our government, I am confident that we will not only be able to continue addressing the concerns of our borough, but also go the extra mile to ensure that every aspect of the lives of Brooklyn’s residents is enhanced,” he said.
The district encompasses East New York, Canarsie, Brownsville, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Cypress Hills, Clinton Hill, Mill Basin, Midwood, Downtown Brooklyn, Boreum Hill, and parts of Fort Greene and Williamsburg.