Monday, 7 December 2015

Toilet Relief for Women -- Coming Soon

"Dick and Jane" by Tim Yankosky at the washrooms in Nordstroms, Vancouver
Hong Kong women may not be making as much money as their male counterparts, but hey at least newer buildings in the city will have more bathroom stalls for them.

Yesterday Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po wrote on his blog that there was an amendment to the law last week to increase the ratio of male to female toilets in Hong Kong.

There will be a change in the building regulations which will come into effect next week specifying there should be 1.6 female toilets for every male toilet. Currently it's one-to-one.

Excuse me -- how did they come up with the ratio of 1.6? Doesn't seem to make much sense. Why not make it two-to-one?

"It is not uncommon to see long queues of women waiting for their turn to use the toilets in public places," wrote Chan. "Even men might sometimes have to wait for their other half to use the toilet."

No, really?! Maybe because he has had to wait for his wife that prompted Chan to make this observation. Why couldn't this regulation of more female toilets been in place earlier? It's not like long lines for the loo is a recent phenomenon.

And if one looks at the population statistics, Hong Kong has slightly more women than men, so that alone should mean we should have more toilets for them...

This new regulation only applies to new buildings and not expect existing buildings and venues to retrofit more stalls.

Chung Yuen-yi is not that impressed. She's an advocate for women's rights for the past 20 years.

"It's better than nothing," she said. "But I think the ratio of male to female toilets should be one to three. Anatomy differences between men and women mean women have to spend longer in toilets than men.

"Also, women often have the responsibility of accompanying children and the elderly to the toilets. So the demand for female toilets is far greater than for male toilets."

Another advocate, Luk Kit-ling, chairwoman of the Association for the Advancement of Feminism, thought the law reform "had come a bit late".

She said the government should have encouraged owners to add more toilets to existing buildings.

That would be admittedly difficult, but in the meantime we're still puzzled by the 1.6 ratio...

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