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The potty parity problem: Towards gender equality at restrooms in business facilities

Woonghee Tim Huh, Jaywon Lee, Heesang Park and Kun Soo Park

Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, 2019, vol. 68, issue C

Abstract: In business facilities such as theaters, restaurants, stadiums, and etc., anecdotal evidences suggest that waiting lines for women's restrooms are longer than those for men's. Respectively, there have been growing concerns on ensuring restrooms in business facilities to be equally convenient for both women and men. This issue not only relates to gender equality, but also relates to business performance, since restroom experience directly affects performance efficiency (e.g., revenues, repeat sales, asset turnover, service times, and etc.). Nonetheless, current codes and legislations for designing restrooms in business facilities are not based on objective analyses but on the survey of experts that may be male biased. In this study, we develop a quantitative model using queueing theory and simulations to evaluate the waiting time for restrooms. Using our model, we compare the waiting times between women and men to examine if the current codes and legislations provide equal access. Our analysis reveals that the current standard specified by the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) still fails to achieve equal access. The methods demonstrated in this study may serve as a basis for design of restrooms in business facilities and improve both gender equality and performance efficiency in business facilities.

Keywords: Gender equality; Potty parity; Ethics in OR; Queueing (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1016/j.seps.2018.11.003

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