Of Average Women and Toilet Cubicles

Jo Swinson at the launch of Debenhams size 16 mannequin range

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!


Photo courtesy of D hughes
Photo courtesy of D hughes

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.


Cubicle Size Guide
Cubicle Size Guide

Winter Writing Poetry

Last Saturday I spend the day up at The Ciliau in Mid-Wales. I was there at the end of summer and we spent a wonderful day writing about the countryside and read poetry down by the river. This time you could definitely tell winter is on its way, the wind battered down the fields and the river was almost unrecognizable. Christina and Emma were facilitating again and they made it an amazing day with a beautiful range of winter poetry to read and inspire us. I wrote loads on the day and I am looking forward to going back over things and editing. Below are two pieces I am pretty happy with, the first piece was inspired by the prompt ‘winter from inside the house’ and the seconds one I was inspired by the poem ‘The Promise of Snow‘ by Esther Morgan to personify winter.

Beautiful changing colours of the coutryside
Beautiful changing colours of the countryside

Winter Woes

The toilet is always cold

Nothing heats the ceramic bowl

In the dead of night when I can wait no longer

With a heavy heart it’s there I wander

To be woken up with a chill to my ass

Oh, woe is me for being a lass

Winter Kisses

Winter has kissed many lips

Not bothered by sex, colour or creed

all lips are given the same attention

but some are kissed so hard they bleed and crack

The ones without home or fires

are favoured with an embrace

squeezed until their bodies become cold

and as stiff as their loving captor

Winter watches the people left behind

weeping in jealousy of those chosen for special attention

winter thinks if they were to pay them enough thought

he would not have to hold the ones we forgot.