Bathroom functionality: Where gender matters

Having recently moved into a new building, it’s clear that more women need to be at the table in all aspects of the process of new spaces, from A to Z whether it’s architecture, engineering or design and inspection. Especially the details of design. When one gender isn’t there to give its unique input, functionality and usefulness suffers. No where is this more apparent than in bathrooms.

Men use the bathroom basically for three, maybe four things: to pee, to poop, to comb hair and maybe change clothes for a workout.

A matter of necessity

Of course, women pee and poop, too. But for us, the bathroom is an area that has to do so much more. We also change tampons or pads in the stalls. Some of us may even use wipes as this is a pretty messy time of month for up to 7 days. We’re probably a tad more attentive to the bathroom smells. (Poo-Pourri isn’t a top seller for no reason! Check out those ads.) That’s a lot of things to carry into a narrow stall only to find you have no where to set it all down. We’re also spending 8 or more hours a day in an open space with no privacy. So you probably want to carry all that as unobtrusively as possible. You don’t want to cart your purse with you, so you might opt for a pouch. And where do you set it? Bingo, no shelf. Whomp, whomp.


Self-flushing toilets. Or should we call them unexpected bidets. I don’t know if sensors just don’t recognize my narrow little ass, but my butt regularly gets a toilet water wash. Thanks Mr. Toilet. So refreshing. It takes me a little more time to change my necessities. Sorry.

Putting on the office mask

Here’s another thing women do it the bathroom: Freshen up their makeup. At some point in an 8-hour plus day, you probably want to apply more makeup or see if your clothing is still in order. Mirrors and lighting are your tools. Full length mirrors. And lighting that’s not so dim that you walk out looking like a clown went to town on your face. Of course, when it comes to makeup, the women at the table in the building, design and inspection process would definitely have to be a makeup wearers.

Kudos for energy efficiency and saving space, but for the person who has to use a facility for the majority of their day, shouldn’t it be useful for the other gender using it, too?

Seat cover bonus

There used to be a Border’s Bookstore near me that had the most fabulous bathroom seat cover holder. As you pulled out the cover, there was a mechanism that separated the piece that creates the hole in the middle. No trying to neatly separate each side when you’re in a hurry. And no toilet automatically flushing after you lay in on the seat and turn around to sit only to see it go down the toilet hole. Feels a bit like being Sisyphus.

I even have a favorite bathroom you can read about.


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