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Bar Exam Sex Discrimination – Piss Bottles and Tampons

By JOHN F. BANZHAF. Originally published at ValueWalk.

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Bar Exam Sex Discrimination – Piss Bottles and Tampons; Forced to Urinate While Taking Test; Announce Being “On The Rag”

Female Law Students Suffer Sex Discrimination From Bar Examiners

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 21, 2022) – Female law students have suffered sex discrimination from – of all people – bar examiners, who are prohibiting them from using rest rooms during exams to pass the bar, or requiring them to announce to other students taking the test if they are menstruating, notes public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who has won over 100 cases of sex discrimination against women.


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Law students unfortunate enough to take bar exams during the pandemic when in-person testing wasn’t possible, or in some cases those who had to take them remotely, had to remain seated staring into a camera, and were not permitted to leave to use a restroom. Reportedly some were forced to urinate on themselves, while others managed to urinate into bottles; a common enough practice among male long-distance truckers, but more difficult for law students or for truckers who happen to be female, argues Banzhaf.

Law student Kim Kardashian confessed that “I actually bought adult diapers when I took the bar exam.” One female described what it took for her to comply: “I had to put the bucket under the chair and I was wearing a long dress and had to squat down, but make sure my face was still on camera.”

A practice which disproportionately burdens females more than males constitutes illegal sex discrimination, argues Banzhaf, who is backed up by several court decisions he has cited in his successful sex discrimination legal actions.

Since it is obvious that trying to urinate seated in a desk chair while staring into a camera is far more difficult for women than for men, the requirement imposed by the bar examiners apparently constitutes illegal sex discrimination. The female victims – by themselves or with the help of female law professors – should sue, says Banzhaf. who has made the same argument regarding another form of sex discrimination by bar examiners.

Ban On Tampons

Texas, West Virginia, and Arizona have reportedly banned law school graduates from bringing tampons with them when they take the bar exam, following the lead of the Pennsylvania bar examiners who likewise banned feminine hygiene products.

California (now joined by Virginia) was somewhat more progressive, permitting tampons to be brought, provided they are displayed openly in a clear plastic bag. As one female test taker explained, there’s “nothing like writing about gender discrimination while announcing to 1,000 of your future colleagues that you’re on the rag.”

To put an end to these types of illegal sex discrimination, those concerned and affected should take legal action, perhaps relying on some of the cases Banzhaf himself cited.

For example, a legal complaint he filed helped force the U.S. House of Representatives to construct the first female restroom adjacent to the House floor so that female members of Congress are no longer “forced to urinate in a coffee cup” (as one report put it).

Another legal complaint filed by Banzhaf, the “Father of Potty Parity,” prompted the University of Michigan to provide a higher percentage of toilets for females than for males when it renovated its Hill Auditorium – a main goal of the potty parity movement.

However – unlike the potty parity, women’s rights, nonsmokers’ rights, LGBTQ rights, and other similar movements Banzhaf has helped start or supported – this new movement (a branch of another movement known as “Period Parity”) has yet to take advantage of the tremendous but largely untapped power of legal action to both force change and, at the same time, generate publicity to educate the public about feminine hygiene discrimination.

For example, bar examiners who fail to provide free tampons in female rest rooms, while providing paper towels and toilet paper at no charge in rest rooms generally, could likewise also fall within a new class of court decisions the law professor cites when he brings actions in support of potty parity.

Two of those decisions, by two different U.S. Courts of Appeals, held that providing exactly the same restroom facilities for men and women can nevertheless constitute illegal sex discrimination – under disparate impact, sexual harassment, and/or hostile work environment legal theories – if what is provided does not meet the special and additional needs of females, based upon what one court said are the “anatomical differences between men and women which are ‘immutable characteristics,’ just as race, color and national origin are.”

In Texas and West Virginia, although the bar examiners have now promised that feminine hygiene products will be provided in women’s restrooms, there is no guarantee that the supply would not run out at a crucial time, that the dispensing devices would not jam or otherwise cease to function, or that every prospective female lawyer would find among the products which are provided one which is the kind she needs and/or is able to use.

Moreover, such a prohibition might arguably also constitute discrimination against transgender and gender non-binary law school graduates who don’t use women’s restrooms, but may nevertheless urgently need tampons during the bar exam.

In short, requiring bar-exam test takers to sit at a desk for long periods of time without leaving for a restroom break (which is much more difficult for females than for males, and therefore does not meet the special and additional needs of females), as well as prohibiting law students from bringing tampons into a testing room (which obviously doesn’t take into account the “anatomical differences between men and women”) constitutes illegal sex discrimination, and those responsible should be sued to prevent further unfairness, suggests Banzhaf.

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