# Why Is There Always a Queue for the Women's Toilet?
>[!example] 04 May 2023 #articles
%%[[women waiting in a long line for the bathroom is a common occurrence]]%%
As women, we queue for the bathroom. It's a given.[^1] A survey in 2018 found that 59% of women say they "very often" or "quite often" have to queue to use toilets in public places. [^5] That's compared to 11% of men who reported doing so.
![[Queuing for the toilet.excalidraw.png]]
Now although this is something that I knew, I didn't think much about why this is the case. Not until I read Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez.[^2]
I sort of, well, just accepted that that was how things were. As a woman, you stand in line. You wait. And wait. And wait.
But we don't wait in line for the fun of it. We don't do it to moan to other women about relationships (something a bloke once told me he thought was the reason). Nor do we wait in line because we, and the women we are waiting behind, are inefficient at going to the toilet.
In fact, according to Perez, it's more complicated than that. It's about architectural gender bias, women's physiology and unpaid work.
### 1. Floor space
%% [[women require more trips to the bathroom]] %%
I am building a (hypothetical) building. I have 'this much' floor space for toilets. I will divide the floor space equally between males and females. Gender equality, right?
%% #update → add in [[we need equity not equality BLOG]]%%
Not quite. Providing equal floor space in male and female public toilets may not be equal after all.
%% [[the number of people who can relieve themselves at once is far higher per square foot of floor space in the male bathroom than in the female bathroom]] %%
Male toilets have urinals which need far less floor space than cubicles. Thus the number of people who can relieve themselves at once is far higher per square foot of floor space in the male bathroom than in the female bathroom.
### 2. Frequency
%% #update Thirdly, a decrease in oestrogen means urination frequency %%
Many women need more trips to the bathroom than men.
%%[[over 800,000 women in the UK were pregnant in 2020]]%%
Firstly, pregnancy reduces bladder capacity. And with over 800,000 women in the UK alone being pregnant each year, that's a lot of bathroom breaks.[^3]
%%[[women get 8 times more UTIs than men]]%%
Secondly, women get eight times more urinary-tract infections than men.[^4] UTIs that make you feel you need to go pee. Even when you don't. And the treatment being? That's right - to urinate more often. So again, more trips to the bathroom.
### 3. Duration
%%[[women take up to 2.3 times as long as men to use the toilet]] %%
According to Perez, women take up to 2.3 times as long as men to use the toilet. But it's not because we're slow or incompetent at what we do. It's because there are other things, and people, to think about.
> "Women make up the majority of the elderly and disabled, two groups that will tend to need more time in the toilet. Women are also more likely to be accompanied by children, as well as disabled and older people. Then there’s the 20-25% of women of childbearing age who may be on their period at any one time, and therefore needing to change a tampon or a sanitary pad."
Hence, longer queues for the toilet.
### A Call for Equity for Fathers
The most logical solution is for a woman to take the child/ren to the bathroom. Why? Because there are (almost) always baby-changing facilities in the women's bathrooms. Something which is not the case in men's.
%% [[Inspired by Dad’s Viral Photo, John Legend Helps Pampers Install 5,000 Changing Tables in Men’s Restrooms]] %%
But that doesn't make it right. And it doesn't make it fair on men or women, a fact that [Donte Palmer](https://www.boredpanda.com/changing-tables-men-public-bathrooms-squat-for-change-donte-palmer/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic) brought to light. Palmer shared how he and other fathers change nappies in public bathrooms. Something that they have to figure out since there are no changing facilities for men to use.
### Final thoughts
I'm not sure what I intended to do with this knowledge or why I needed to write about it. It may be more about being aware that inequalities (on both sides) exist. Or maybe it was the curious part of me asking why we were waiting again.
Whatever the reason. I like knowing things like this. If nothing else, I will have something to share with the woman standing next to me when queuing for the toilet.
[^1]: %%[[Ladies Loo Queues Twitter Feed]]%% There is even a twitter feed dedicated to this fact. [Link](https://mobile.twitter.com/weetweeting)
[^2]: [Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men: Caroline Criado Perez](https://www.amazon.co.uk/Invisible-Women-Exposing-World-Designed/dp/B07KFKC17B/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2TJSI6R3TF83V&keywords=Invisible+Women+by+Caroline+Criado+Perez&qid=1686906415&s=books&sprefix=invisible+women+by+caroline+criado+perez%2Cstripbooks%2C185&sr=1-1)
[^3]: [Conceptions in England and Wales - Office for National Statistics](https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/conceptionandfertilityrates/bulletins/conceptionstatistics/2020)
[^4]: Al-Badr, A. and Al-Shaikh, G. (2013) ‘Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections Management in Women’, _Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal_, 13(3), pp. 359–367. Available at: [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3749018/](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3749018/)
[^5]: [Potty Parity: would it be fairer to make women's toilets bigger? | YouGov](https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2018/03/20/potty-parity-would-it-be-fairer-make-womens-toilet)