why aren’t women’s bathrooms bigger?

You’ve probably noticed that in large public areas, there is always a line in front of the women’s restroom, but never in front of the men’s. If you haven’t, you now know. If you are a man, this is important knowledge, because there is a reason your wife/girlfriend/daughter/friend takes so long in the bathroom. Of course, some women spend a fair amount of time primping in front of the mirror, but even if she were not to look at the mirror at all, she will still take longer, because there is almost always a line.

I don’t understand why architects cannot do the math. If you make men’s and women’s bathrooms the same size, it’s not going to work. A men’s bathroom will facilitate far more stalls than women’s. Then take into consideration the average time it takes to defecate. I’m going to eliminate no.2 (the act of pooing) because we can assume that the average time it takes to poo is approximately the same for both genders. However, if you think about how long it takes to pee, women take much longer, because taking off pants and sitting down, standing up, putting pants back on, etc. takes longer than unzipping and zipping up whilst standing up. Then, the act of actually opening and closing the bathroom stalls, looking for empty stalls, and locking stalls is something men don’t have to deal with. You may not think that these slight differences amount to much, but even a few seconds taken with each additional procedure adds up to at least one minute. In addition, women also have things to do in the bathroom that men don’t have to do– such as the process of using feminine products.

So if there are the same number of men and women who want to go to the bathroom, it will take longer to process all the women than all the men, just by calculating the average time.

In addition to that, it widely known that most women have smaller bladders than men and thus have to pee more often than men. That means that in a 24 hour timeframe, you will have more females going to bathrooms than men.

So, if more people are using women’s bathrooms than men, and women take more time in the bathroom than men, why are the bathrooms the same size? It’s something that puzzles me and I’d really like architects to explain this to me– especially female architects (they should know!) and those architects designing public venues with high bathroom traffic in limited timeframes (such as theaters).

On a final note, men’s bathrooms should also have changing tables. It is extremely gender-discriminating that only women’s bathrooms have changing tables.


2 responses to “why aren’t women’s bathrooms bigger?

  1. How do you know men’s and women’s bathrooms are the same size? Why is it relevant. Why put this in a men vs. women diatribe? Why not just say, “The lines that sometimes form in women’s bathrooms mean that the bathrooms are not big enough. They should be large enough to accommodate the need”

    • You’re absolutely right, although I make the comparison because the point is not just that women’s bathrooms are not big enough, but that men’s bathroom are. Speaking from a friendly perspective, not a feminist one, I always feel bad about having to make a male partner/ friend/family member wait.

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