This has been a very positive month for women in the UK with Debenhams introducing size 16 mannequins to represent not a plus-size women but the average women. However, I believe as a nation we still have one issue to address in the fight for female equality…toilet cubicles.
I ask you dear readers who is designing toilet cubicles?
Well…I assume many people design toilet cubicles seeing as almost all public and private buildings have a toilet or two. However are average sized women designing them? I think not!
The reason for my sweeping assumption is that many female toilets are not build to size. Once you’ve added the obligatory, and very useful, sanitary disposal bin there is no room left to sit down. When the average UK woman is a size 16 we can assume that the derrière of many women will not be comfortably accommodated with the sanitary bin squeezed against their closed legs. Heaven forbid you would want to open your legs even a slight bit to obtain some…access.
The only option to attain a comfortable visit is to move the obtrusive object, but with toilets being economical in both size and shape this option is sometimes an unachievable feat. Also surely the touching of sanitary bins goes against the nature of them. The introduction of touch free sanitary bins is called revolutionary and will protect women from coming into contact with harmful bacteria…but the point of this is lost when you consider the countless women who have to move the bacteria laden contraption every time they wish to use the facilities.
We spend on average three years of our lives on the toilet and I don’t think it’s too much to ask for an extra few inches to make time spent in the lavatory a bit more comfortable. Being British we do not speak of such things as toilets and sanitary bins but this issue is one I believe should be raised. If men were made to huddle together around a smaller than necessary urinals I’m sure we would all know about it.
So please architects of any gender, when you are designing that beautiful £20 million building spare a thought for the women who will use the facilities every day and make the toilet cubicles accommodating for the average woman.