Have you ever wondered why women always spend more time in the toilet queue?

We’ve all been there. You’re at an event, you need to use the ladies – and the line is out the door. Meanwhile the men’s bathroom is deserted (don’t even think about it – I’ve gone there and you don’t want to). 

A story in The Guardian this week explains why. On average women take twice as long to use a toilet as men – about 90 seconds compared to 40 seconds. Not to mention the clothes, bags, small children and other ‘ladies’ issues’ that we have to deal with. 

And that’s before you even get to the problem of design. Most architects build toilets for men and women that are the same size – despite women needing three times as many cubicles to make up for the extra time. 

No wonder why a new survey found 59 per cent of women say they regularly have to queue compared to just 11 per cent of men. 

Solving a taboo problem 

The journalist’s solution? ‘Potty parity’ or providing an ‘equal’ number of toilets for men and women based on the longer usage time. 

It sounds strange – but there are bigger issues here too. It’s estimated around five million Australians have bladder or bowel control problems. These often include the elderly, people with disabilities and people with a range of medical conditions. 

If you find yourself always stuck in the queue – or indeed in many places unable to find a loo – you’re more likely to stay at home and avoid going out. This can lead to social isolation and loneliness which research has shown can prevent you from living longer and happier. 

So come on governments and planners – it’s time to think outside the cubicle! 

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/shortcuts/2018/mar/21/why-women-face-longer-toilet-queues-and-how-we-can-achieve-potty-parity 

https://theconversation.com/caught-short-we-need-to-talk-about-public-toilets-60450 

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A special thanks to our contributors

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Antonia Norris

Researcher and Contributor

Antonia has led the operations and growth of the agedcare101.com.au and villages.com.au within the DCM Group in Australia and New Zealand for several years. This has included the research and creation agedcare101 in 2016, the creation of the DCM Institute and Te Ara Institute, the joint contribution of Care & Living with Mercer (CaLM) and the TV series, The Best 30 Years, screened on NINE nationally.

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Journalist

Journalist

Caroline has a wealth of experience writing within the retirement and aged care sector and is a contributing journalist for the Villages.com.au and agedcare101 blog and accompanying newsletters.

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Ian Horswill

Journalist

Ian is a journalist, writer and sub-editor for the aged care sector, working at The DCM Group. He writes for The Weekly Source, agedcare101, villages.com.au and the DCM Institute fortnightly newsletter Friday. Ian is in daily contact with CEOs of retirement living, land lease and the aged care operations and makes a new contact every week. He investigates media releases, LinkedIn and Facebook for a good source for ideas for stories.

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Lauren Broomham

Retirement and Aged Care Journalist

Lauren is a journalist for villages.com.au, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

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Jill Donaldson

Physiotherapist

Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

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Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

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Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.