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Women's toilets (lack of)

(40 Posts)
SnozzberryPie Fri 09-Oct-15 17:36:44

I've just moved to a new office and there are only two women's toilets for the whole building. I'm not sure how many people work there but enough that there is often a queue and the lack of toilets is a common cause of complaints amongst female staff.

The men's toilets are in a room of the same size as the women's, but as well as two cubicles there are (apparently - I haven't actually been in to investigate!) also two urinals.

I should also mention that the office is around two thirds to three quarters female.

This set me thinking about how it is accepted that women will have to queue for the toilet and men won't. Why is this? Wouldn't it be fairer if women's toilets in all public places had the same amount of cubicles as men's have urinals and cubicles in total, even if that means they take up a larger area? Why don't we at least design new buildings like this?

Or am I over thinking this? I am heavily pregnant and spend a lot of time queuing for the loo, so I might be wink

winchester1 Fri 09-Oct-15 17:39:43

Not what your asking but aren't there building regs and health and safety rules that stipulate the amount of toilets needed for x amount of people.

(sorry this is my work area but i don't live in the UK so I'm not sure.)

SnozzberryPie Fri 09-Oct-15 17:43:16

Maybe, it might be something to look into although I only have a few weeks left till mat leave kicks in so I'm not sure if I cba smile

I was just musing more generally on the subject...

winchester1 Fri 09-Oct-15 17:51:06

The health and safety at work regs have an acop (approved code of practice) that has a table showing how many toilets are needed in relation to the amount of staff. It's on the hse (health and safety executive) website. Sorry can't link from my phone.

As a general musing, yh it is weird and I dint get why not just have individual cubicles and unisex toilets so we are all in the same boat.

DiscoGoGo Fri 09-Oct-15 20:56:47

YY toilets as feminist issue!

Massive queues
Lack of public toilets making things tricker for women than men (maybe?) - thinking menstruation, pregnancy and needing a pee the whole time, and due to childbirth and stuff I think women are generally a bit less continent than men as they get older? I was saying to DH earlier after a sneeze that I suddenly realised why older women go for a pee the whole time it's to avoid accidents in part + weaker bladder less control (I speak as someone who has had 2 children so not brilliant in this dept myself!) and do men get as much stress incontinence?

Anyway yes that sounds rubbish shouldn't they be changing one of the gents to a ladies if the office is majority women and there's queues?

EBearhug Fri 09-Oct-15 22:29:42

Here's the HSE guidelines -

grimbletart Fri 09-Oct-15 22:55:49

and do men get as much stress incontinence?

I don't know Disco…but I know it's generally not women you see peeing in the street. I always thought men must have weaker bladders.

EBearhug Fri 09-Oct-15 23:40:40

They can have prostate problems which cause them to need to pee more frequently.

But men do only need the loo for pee and poo. Women have to deal with menstruation as well, and sanitary bins take some room in the cubicle. So I would say they have more toilet needs than men in any case.

BartholinsSister Sat 10-Oct-15 00:05:55

Perhaps this wouldn't be such an issue if more women were taught how to pee standing up, thus able to have urinals too.

SnozzberryPie Sat 10-Oct-15 00:24:34

It's even worse in public toilets as women often have children with them, so there are more people using the ladies.

Most of the men peeing in the street have drunk too much beer!

ALassUnparalleled Sat 10-Oct-15 01:18:51

Perhaps this wouldn't be such an issue if more women were taught how to pee standing up, thus able to have urinals too

Wouldn't that only work if one wore a skirt or a dress? I'm not particularly squeamish but having encountered the odd toilet from hell I have done it. It's not difficult wearing a dress, not sure how you'd manage with trousers or jeans. Having to resort to going behind a bush is much easier wearing a dress or skirt or a dress too.

thegiddylimit Sat 10-Oct-15 01:25:17

In a work situation the building infrastructure may not have caught up with the fact that there are more women working these days. I work in a field that historically would have been very male but is now 50:50. About 10 years ago we had to ask for one of the toilets to be redesignated as a female toilet because the women at work spent all their time walking round looking for a free loo.

EBearhug Sat 10-Oct-15 10:19:39

the women at work spent all their time walking round looking for a free loo.
I do that, too, but that's because the cleaners appear to have some psychic connection to my bladder and close the nearest loos just as I want to go in there.

SnozzberryPie Sat 10-Oct-15 14:51:20

Alass have you ever used a she wee? You can wee standing up in trousers. Great for festivals.

Penfold007 Sat 10-Oct-15 15:00:11

HSE guide to toilets to employee ratios. Interesting that it's mixed/women and then men only. Maybe your place of work needs to designate more of the existing facilities as women's toilets.

scallopsrgreat Sat 10-Oct-15 15:36:23

Yy BartholinsSister. If only women were more like men. Men being the default and all.

ALassUnparalleled Sat 10-Oct-15 16:05:31

Alass have you ever used a she wee? You can wee standing up in trousers. Great for festivals.

No. I don't wear trousers. My skirt/dress comment was mainly due to noticing that on a "comfort break" on a bus in the middle of nowhere in Laos it was considerably easier for me than the women wearing shorts or trousers.

So far as the OP's specific case the answer does seem to be re-designation.

winchester1 Sat 10-Oct-15 17:48:51

Surely it mixed / women and men separate as men cam use women's loos but women can't use urinals (generally).

I really don't get why we even have separate men and women's anyway, why not just mixed.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Sat 10-Oct-15 17:52:34

Safety (lots of sexual assault and voyeurism takes place in toilets) and because far too many men don't aim very well.
A Canadian university has recently gone back on its policy to make all loos gender neutral after two many cases of people filming women by sticking their mobiles over the tops of the cubicles.

Penfold007 Sat 10-Oct-15 17:55:11

Winchester whilst on holiday in France with friends we stopped at a service station I came out of a cubicle and there was my friends husband using the urinal, we were both a bit shocked. It shouldn't be an issue but it was sad

ALassUnparalleled Sat 10-Oct-15 18:09:50

Not all women would be happy with mixed loos.

It would work at somewhere like a concert hall or a theatre where everybody wants to get to the loo as quickly as possible in the interval and there will be a lot of people around, so safety isn't an issue. Most of them you don't know and won't see again so embarrassing bodily function noises not an issue either.

In an office I'm not so sure. Safety would not be an issue. I think some people might be uncomfortable with the idea that you are in a locked cubicle where it's the style with gaps between the roof and the floor and next door is a colleague of the opposite sex hearing your bodily functions.

Our office has a range of traditional one sex only rooms with cubicles as above and separate "one person" only loos.

I know which I prefer , even with the rooms with cubicles being single sex. I know one male colleague who always uses the one person only loo as he said he couldn't bear the thought of standing with his penis out beside his boss. If they made the rooms with cubicles mixed I would probably avoid them.

scallopsrgreat Sat 10-Oct-15 18:40:59

Why do you think safety wouldn't be an issue at work, Lass? Genuine question btw.

SnozzberryPie Sat 10-Oct-15 20:24:16

My work loos are the kind with a big room with cubicles inside (and urinals in the gents) so redesignating so there are more women's facilities would involve major building work. Unless they pulled out the urinals and made both rooms unisex. I'm not sure how I feel about that tbh.

winchester1 Sat 10-Oct-15 20:37:53

I'm in Sweden and we have unisex every where but with proper separate cubicles. I'd think less chance of violence as more chance another man can walk in.

BarbarianMum Sat 10-Oct-15 20:42:43

TBF easy access to toilets is very important for older men, nearly all of whom have enlarged prostates and need to wee frequently.

Beyond that though, yes women's toilets are generally hopelessly inadequate. Service stations, cinemas, theatres, department stores: my dh and sons are always done whilst I am stuck in a queue.

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