A Line at the Men’s Room

Yesterday, I encountered a line at the men’s restroom. Role reversal. I am under the impression that no one is really surprised when there is a line at the women’s room. Frustrated, yes, but not surprised. As observant people we can notice the patterns that lead to bathroom lines. 

I was in a conference center for an event that has an attendance of about 85% men. If you look historically at attendance of conferences in this building, which is on the campus of a high-tech corporation, I bet you would find a consistently unbalanced male/female ratio. So we have a fact-of-life and a non-optimized resource distribution. Was this avoidable?

Our former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld once stated, "As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time."

So should you build infrastructure for the demographics you have, or the demographics you might want or wish to have at a later time? And to what extent should you accept inefficiency when the alternative could be considered discrimination?  

In a related note, did you know that the pentagon was built with twice as many bathrooms as was really necessary?