Women senators were barred from the Senate pool for years because 2 male lawmakers liked to swim nude

Kay Hagan and other female Senators in 2011.
(Image credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Women senators working at the Capitol can still be left feeling secondary to their male counterparts, even though it's been 86 years since the first woman was elected to the United States Senate. It's all in the details — for example, there was not even a women's bathroom on the second floor of the Capitol building until recent years.

One story in particular illustrates exactly the kind of separate treatment female senators would endure. Former Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) told The New York Times that when she joined the Senate in 2009, the doors to the Senate swimming pool had signs that said "men only" for one conspicuous reason: "There were at least two male senators — she would not name them — who enjoyed swimming in the nude," the Times writes.

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