More Public Toilets for Women Still Needed

July 9, 2013
Editor: Hou Jianjun

 

There is still a severe lack of cubicles for women in public toilets in China, according to a recent survey report. [File Photo]

There is still a severe lack of cubicles for women in public toilets in China, according to a recent survey report. [File Photo]

There is still a severe lack of cubicles for women in public toilets in China, according to a recent survey report.

The survey was conducted by female activist leader Li Maizi and other volunteers across the country to learn about the proportion of men's and women's cubicles, the number of unisex toilets and the number of barrier-free toilets in nine cities, including Beijing, Tianjin, Jinan, Lanzhou, Xi'an, Zhengzhou, Wuhan, Hangzhou and Guangzhou.

This was following the release of regulations on the hygiene standards of public restrooms by China's Ministry of Health in February 2013. The regulations recommend that public toilets have double the number of cubicles for women as they have for men.

Li said that she hopes the survey report can provide a basis for the central and regional governments to set regulations on building more women’s toilets and adjust the proportion of men's and women's cubicles to 1 to 2 or even 1 to 3.

The report shows that men's cubicles in all public restrooms of the nine cities outnumber women's, especially in Guangzhou, where the proportion of men's and women's cubicles is 1.8 to 1. The proportion in Beijing is 1.2 to 1 and 1.5 to 1 in Xi'an, Lanzhou and other western or northwestern cities.

The report also shows that there are very few barrier-free toilets, with less than one percent of public restrooms in Beijing being barrier-free.

Volunteers in various cities found during their survey that it is still common for women to have to wait in line to use public restrooms.

Long lines of women waiting to use public toilets in Beijing and Guangzhou prompted female students from universities, headed by Li, last year to launch a campaign called 'occupy men's toilets'.

On February 19, 2012, seven volunteers gathered outside a men's public toilet in Yuexiu Park, a local landmark in Guangzhou. They held up a brightly-colored banner declaring "more convenience for women, more gender equality" and took turns spending three minutes 'occupying' the public toilet to prevent men from using it, spending two hours at the site in total.

Read More:

Guideline to Cut Women's Toilet Wait

A guideline that requires women's cubicles to outnumber men's at newly constructed restrooms will somewhat ease the long lines of women waiting to use the toilet when it takes effect next year.

(Source: china-gad.org/Translated by womenofchina.cn)

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