Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Hollywood Bowl Takes a Large Step for Women's Restrooms: Good to Go

We have outlawed discrimination against women in the workplace. We’ve banned sexual harassment in the workplace. Title IX mandates equality for women in college sports, promoting a boom in women’s sports. The UConn women winning the NCAA this year is at least as impressive as the UConn men. That is true equality. Hurricanes are no longer solely named for women. Coeds often outnumber male students on our campuses. Female students fill our law, medical, and business schools. Women are now commercial pilots and men flight attendants. Women are employers and men secretaries. Women are finally entering the professoriate in biology and chemistry (The old boy’s network has broken down). Women have become doctors and men nurses and physician assistants. Women are increasingly bread winners and men “Mr. Mom.” Women serve as governors, Senators, Representatives, police and fire chiefs. As the old Virginia Slims ad proclaimed: “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby.” And yet, some vestiges of discrimination remain. The most common, affecting all women, is the restroom - the lines, seemingly interminable lines, outside the women’s restrooms, while the men quickly enter and leave the men’s restrooms at public venues. The line does not discriminate between women. All women (except perhaps the First Lady), regardless of profession, occupation, age, wealth, race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual preference, must stand in that line. Men, husbands, lovers, fathers, children, brothers, and friends, instinctively know to stay far away from the lines. Do the math. The fabled Hollywood Bowl has a seating capacity of 17, 376, 15 minute intermissions, and six women restrooms. Many women are late for the second half. That, and perhaps parking, are the only negatives about the Hollywood Bowl. The restrooms were beautifully remodeled a few years ago and are now listed on almost every list of the top ten restrooms in America. The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that the Hollywood Bowl has devised a system to speed up restroom time by 100%. It will place green and red LED bulbs by each stall in the five smaller women restrooms. The red bulb will indicate the stall is occupied. The green bulb signals good to go to the loo. The cost is about #300/stall, which the Bowl should be able to quickly recoup by additional food, beverages, and trinkets the female patrons may purchase with their free time. The system is modeled after the parking facilities at the Westfield Century City Shopping Center, where the lights direct drivers to open spots. I never knew until now that parking lots and restroom stalls possessed commonality. Now if only they could something about airlines!

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