Quarta-feira’, 27/3/2019 | : : UTC-4
The Reflection

Gender neutral bathrooms reduce wait times and promote equality

2 votes

Your bladder is full—brimming—to the point where you feel as though it might burst. Perhaps you were holding it in during a movie because you didn’t want to miss anything, or you were watching a theatre performance and waiting for intermission, or maybe you were deeply engrossed in your classwork and wanted to wait until passing time. There are a multitude of situations that could have led you to this point, but the fact is you need to use the restroom―badly. So you make that mad dash to the restroom, only to be greeted by a seemingly endless line of similarly miserable people. But what if there were a solution to this issue?

It’s a familiar scenario for many women. According to theorists at Ghent University, women’s bathrooms have fewer toilets on average than men’s restrooms. This is because toilet cabins take up more space than urinals. So, if a men’s bathroom and a women’s bathroom are allotted the same surface area to work with, the men’s bathroom will have 20 to 30 percent more total toilets (including urinals).

One of the women’s restrooms at Gull Lake High School with five cabins/stalls. Photo by Caidyn Hutchinson

Women also spend around one and a half to two times more time in the bathroom as men, through no fault of their own. Using a toilet cabin simply has more steps than simply using a urinal. You have to open and close the door, lock it, wipe off the toilet seat and remove clothing before you even get to the act of using the toilet.

Now, these two factors alone are not  enough to cause the outrageous lines that form outside of women’s restrooms. However, at events like theatre performances or football games where large crowds of people are present, the long wait times are exacerbated to an even further extend.

The solution to this issue? Gender-neutral restrooms. That statement is often met with harsh outcries, but if the male and female restrooms are combined into a single gender neutral restroom, the space can be utilized for more toilet cabins for women and urinals for men. As sharing the toilet capacity across sexes is more efficient, the average waiting time decreases. This gender neutral layout would consist of about two toilet cabins per urinal, which is more productive for both men and women.

Gender neutral restrooms don’t just reduce bathroom wait times, they also promote fairness and equality. People who are transgender or rely on a caretaker of the opposite sex often feel anxiety entering restrooms for fear of being heckled or harassed. With gender neutral restrooms, these groups of people can use the restroom without those anxieties.

I’m not suggesting that gender neutral bathrooms should or will be put in place immediately, because things like that take time. But gender neutral restrooms should be implemented as soon as possible to combat the absurdly long lines that form in front of women’s restrooms and to promote equality and fairness for all people. 


Sophia Christensen
About

I'm a senior at Gull Lake High School and this is my first year on The Reflection staff, so I guess you could call me a newspaper newbie. I joined the newspaper sort of on a whim because I wanted to put the skills I learned in Multimedia and Reporting to work, but I'm here to stay and enjoy the ride. I like to write feature articles because I love the facet of newspaper that is giving people an outlet to speak their minds.

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