It's economics

This article appears in the See for Yourself feature series. View the full series.
(Photo by Juan Marin on Unsplash)

Sister Nancy recently traveled to several cities in China. Today's blog relates part of her experiences.

As our time in a Chinese history museum came to an end, we decided to find the restroom before heading to the next activity.

The line for the women's restroom started in the bathroom and snaked out the doorway and down the corridor, at least 15 people deep. The men's restroom had no line and no one waiting. Our male colleague entered, and before we moved even one inch, he was already out, standing in front of us and feeling sorry for us.

"When resources are scarce and demand is high, this is what you get," he said, gesturing to our long restroom line. Spoken like a true economist.

"Why don't they make the women's restroom twice as big as the men's with twice as many stalls? That's what really needs to happen," a fellow female traveler said. "This is ridiculous. And it's the same way back home. There are never enough stalls for women. China is no better than the United States when it comes to this."

"Who calculates these things, anyway?" another asked. "Aren't there architectural standards?"

"Not a woman," a frustrated gal chimed in. "Why not build bathrooms twice as large for women by taking the extra space from the men's bathroom? That would solve the problem. Men don't need all that space anyway. They probably don't even use the sink."

With that, we suspiciously eyed our jubilant male colleague, the one who got in and out of the men's restroom so quickly, who was by then standing off at a safe distance.

[Nancy Linenkugel is a Sylvania Franciscan sister and chair of the department of Health Services Administration at Xavier University, Cincinnati.]

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