We are shopping, at the train station, at large concerts, etc…. When we go to the toilet, we can’t sleep and line up. Female friends must have experienced the anguish of long lines at the bathroom door. You must have encountered people in the queue and people in the back row shouting: “Oh my God, why is it so slow!” Seeing the men’s toilet on the opposite side go in and out quickly, the long queue of women’s toilets threw out the door. In addition, our travel experience is greatly reduced, and even affects the joy of mood.

Toilet trivia: Why are the women's toilets always longer than men's toilets?
Toilet trivia: Why are the women’s toilets always longer than men’s toilets?

Recently, Lisel O’Dwyer, a part-time senior lecturer at the Institute of Sociology and Politics at Flinders University in Australia, wrote an article to analyze the problem of long queues in toilets that have puzzled women.

We can understand that there are more people in female toilets, partly because of the setting of hand washing areas, because women wash their hands and use hand dryers more frequently than men. But in the partition area where the toilet is actually used? Studies have shown that men spend an average of 60 seconds in the toilet, while women spend an average of 90 seconds in the toilet—50% longer than men. Therefore, if there are the same number of toilets for men’s and women’s toilets in public, they will inevitably encounter such problems.

But as expected, Lecturer O’Dwyer also cited the following reasons, scientifically explaining why women spend more time in the toilet.

Physiological reasons

Women spend longer time in the toilet, partly due to their physiological reasons. In the female group, half are in the menstrual period (menstrual period) age (12-52 years). Any day, at least 20% of women are in their menstrual period.

Menstrual period means that women have to face other physical problems in addition to their normal toilet needs. Moreover, let’s take a closer look. Women need to take out the sanitary products from the bag, unpack and discard them, which increases the time for women to use the toilet.

Moreover, women are more likely to have certain health conditions that cause them to have to urinate. Such as urinary tract infection caused by bacterial infection. These are more common in women, because pathogenic bacteria spread closer to the bladder from outside the body.

These problems may cause women to use urinary incontinence products (such as adult diapers), which means that they need to take and discard hygiene products as they do during menstruation, which is also time-consuming. In addition, pregnant women may go to the toilet more frequently since pregnancy.

Female clothing and design reasons

On standard toilets, clothing worn by women usually takes longer to put on and take off. In the traditional sense, people would think that the clothes worn when going out usually only have two layers of inner and outer layers, which makes many men feel puzzled, but women usually wear more than three layers of clothes for practical or fashionable reasons.

Also, it is the consideration in the design of public toilets. Generally speaking, the male and female spaces of public toilets correspond to each other. But the male urinal takes up less space than the cubicle. Therefore, the number of women who can use the bathroom at a time will also decrease.

Moreover, the male urinal means that people do not need to open, close, or lock the door when they shuttle, and they do not need to wipe the toilet. Although some fashionable men use handbags, most men do not need to hang their carry-on bags on the bathroom door. Therefore, they are empty-handed and do not need to look for places to hang their bags.

Men can solve problems anywhere

Compared with men, women are more likely to need to take care of young children and need to help children go to the toilet. Similarly, 81% of personal caregivers or personal assistants (60% of non-paying caregivers) are women and they need to help the care recipient use the bathroom. In some cases, they have to squeeze in a very small space to assist the care recipient in using the bathroom.

If traveling with friends or family, women usually go to the bathroom with them. Some of this mode is for safety reasons, or it may be for social or companionship needs. Women wash their hands after going to the toilet and may also spend time in the mirror to check and adjust their clothes.

In some outdoor activities, sometimes relying on darkness or vegetation cover, some men will choose to solve it directly on the spot. This obviously reduces men’s need for toilets.

All these factors add up to make more people spend longer time in a limited space, so it is not surprising that there are long lines in the women’s toilets.

In Hong Kong, the new building stipulates that the ratio of male and female toilets in public places must reach 1:1.6. Therefore, O’Dwyer also pointed out that designers and builders must adopt a more reasonable rather than even distribution of space and equipment, so that women can have a more relaxed environment and ample time when going to the toilet.

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