Opinion: Women’s bathrooms take too long


Ladies' room/ Mr. Blue MauMau / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Women’s rooms tend to have longer lines because of the female anatomy and the amount of space toilet stalls take up.

Nisha Marino, Highlander Editor-in-Chief

One minute. Five minutes. Ten minutes… and you’re still in line, you can’t see the end, and you’re going to pee your pants.

But time has run out.

According to Women’s Health, the average person needs to use the restroom six to seven times every 24 hours, depending on their bladder size and how regularly they drink water. In a school day, that makes for more than a couple bathroom trips.

But when do you have the time? Carlmont’s seven-minute passing periods don’t leave enough time for most students to wait in line for the bathroom. With over 2,000 students and only 12 student restrooms, it’s possible that Carlmont has a bathroom problem.

Nisha Marino
On its map, Carlmont shows 12 bathrooms available for student use.

The issue of waiting in line, however, is clearer to those using the women’s restrooms. The majority of people using the ladies’ room at Carlmont are female, and according to Time, women need to use the bathroom more frequently and for longer periods of time than men. This is primarily due to the clothes we wear, our menstrual cycles, and the fact that it takes time to open and close stall doors.

On top of that, women’s restrooms have fewer toilets. Both men and women’s restrooms are designated the same amount of space, but urinals take up less room than toilets. So, fewer women can use the restroom at a time.

Our lines are longer, and it isn’t our fault.

I know it sounds ridiculous to complain about needing to pee. But every day I have to make the choice between being late to class or being unable to focus in class.

Many teachers have strict rules about going to the bathroom during class. Some take off participation points, while others want students to wait for the bell.

This makes sense; with only 50 minutes per period, class time is valuable, and bathroom breaks can take a lot of time away from a student’s learning. In addition, some students use the bathroom to skip class. Again, it makes sense for teachers to avoid giving their students an unlimited amount of bathroom breaks.

But a bodily necessity should come over education. Holding it in is unhealthy and makes it harder to pay attention in class.

Scientists have proposed a few ways to fix the problem of restroom inequity, and Carlmont has already put one in place: unisex bathrooms. Doubling the number of toilets for women might be cost- and space-ineffective. But gender-neutral bathrooms can reduce the overall wait time by 63 percent. Opening all restrooms to all sexes might solve the issue.

It may sound like a crazy idea. But if it means students can stay hydrated and focused in class, it sounds like the right idea to me.