Women, Public-Toilets & Gender Equality Agenda
Written by Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States
Inadequacy of public toilets for women, have always concerned me; as I frequently have observed the disparity between the ease with which men receive this rather most innocuous public service; and the excruciation seemingly reserved for our counterparts, the so-called weaker sex. We are talking about the hardships faced by your mother, sister, wife or girlfriend etc. Women folk, what pity!
I have always assumed public’s awareness or familiarity with the open-secret of the super-majority of women in world population. And may be nobody knows this open secret, and by extension, builders, merchants, architects and government officials who are initiator, implementers and permit issuers and inspectors of buildings into which the public is welcome, are splendidly unaware of this sacrosanct fact? My assumption that all and sundry, including professionals in the buildings construction industry, would also be familiar with or cognizant of this open-secret of women super-majority in world population and therefore, multiply amenities by this known supernumerary of women is erroneous?
This week, I, among other men, had a taste our gender neglect bitter medicine, and this, finally pushed my hand to publicly gripe about this gender disparity issue against women in the provision of public toilets. I was present in a convention conference. As usual, the men enjoyed ease of facilitation, a-speed-pass sorts of male-toilets use. Conversely, the women lined up in large numbers, waiting eagerly anxiously to use the limited numbers of toilets available to women, given their super-majority of numbers. Both days were very hot and humid and of course, people ingested more liquids, hence the increase rates of urinary visits to the toilets nearby.
My old questions arose again and quite urgently and personal this time. I was compelled to wait, as the women are used to doing uncomfortably, which of course we men folk have taken for granted for too long! And waiting to urinate, when very pressed, was not my idea of any fun. Poor pressured rod, almost to a bursting point!
This issue begs these questions. Why do designers, owners and operators etc of public buildings, such as convention conference centers, hotels, airports, seaports, train stations, stadiums, movie houses, supermarkets, shopping malls, just to name a few, never think it fit, to provide more public toilets, in direct proportion to women and to women proportional representation in our populations? Why has this neglect pattern continued in our supposed gender equality and gender parity modern world? How long must women have to wait for even the simplest of equality and parity? Even in matters of just a mere place to pee in conveniently, just as men do?
A bitter taste of my gender medicine of forlorn neglect of women came in the form of women rebellion, on the second day of our conference convention, as some women, haven suffered apparently enough disparity in the provision of toilets a day before, literally, took over some of the toilets designated for men, the ladies, printed labels, which they superimposed upon, what was male toilets signs into an all female toilets, (sua sponte), on their own! We the men deserved the rebellion! After all, men designed, constructed and operate the building! Neglect by invited the frustration and rebellion which I witnessed and “suffered” from. And some men were complaining at the rebellion and rebelling women!
As I suffered and waited for my turn, I reminded the men of a fact which we were all witness a day before; there was very likely, more than a hundred women, queuing, after breakfast and after lunch, as our convention conference went on. And in mere reaction by the women, after haven been pushed to the wall, by circumstances of a day earlier, the women invented innovative cure or solution.
Men, who made plurality of public toilets in favor of women impossible, made the women public toilet rebellion we witnessed, inevitable and we ought to deal with it with our silence and in dignity, after all, it was our deserved consequence of our gender’s neglect of women! As it turned out, most of the men understood the logic of poetic justice which I struggled to explain. All men present were middle-class professional men and they took the pressing pee which was rather stressful, coupled with my heaping the present pee pressure torture on men historical neglect of women concerns with equanimity.
It is a certainty that most men reading this have had to, at one time or another, waited endlessly, for a woman to use a public toilet. That woman is kept under pressure under her underwear due to limited public toilet space. You the man may be agitated for having to wait for her after you have been able to run in and out of the men toilets without the excruciatingly long lines endured by women on their side of the public toilets arrangements.
It is not women fault that there are more women in the world. It is neither women fault that women are not preponderate construction designs, architectural and buildings operators and facilities maintenance professions.
There are more women in the world, (an open secret) there should be more public facilities and social amenities directed towards the majority, (women) this ought to be so simple and requires no debate! Women are more meticulous and are essentially more hygienic, more particular and take longer, using toilets facilities. Women spend the first minute wiping and cleaning the toilet bowl tops or urinary aperture Women are also known to possess a rather more complicated pleasure centers or orifices of joy, hence it takes slightly longer efforts to discharge the effluents and then clean the crevices of the orifices thoroughly. Does everyone not realize this? Perhaps everyone but the architects, designers, builders, building permits issuers and sundry operators of public buildings facilities etc?
Another open secret is the incontrovertible fact that all men have women in their lives. As in mother, sister, wife or girlfriend, daughter etc. So why would any man, or woman, design a building which neglects the crucial needs of mother, sister, wife, daughter etc? And what exactly has to happen for this archaic practice to be reversed? When will public facilities, start to factor-in essential needs of more than half of the world’s population? Imagine that is my gender’s fault that my mother, sister etc have to put up with palpable inconvenience of holding it for too long due to disparity and inequality in the provision of public toilets for women?
Why would and why should it require the public advocacy of women interests groups to nudge and encourage the advent of public toilet parity for women? The world ought to, in consonance with women size and percentage in the population, just seamlessly, but quickly, undertakes this sorely needed adjustments, without a fuss.
In business practices, and more particularly so in marketing, the interests of the customer is paramount in profits calculation. Women who visit airports, hotels, stadiums, movie houses, shopping malls and public buildings or facilities, are patrons or customers, whose pleasures and conveniences must be met, in order to retain these women happy returns. But why must mere peeing be made so difficult for more than half the world’s population?