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Opinion: Hey Rogers Place - give us our damn washrooms back

Since the Oilers playoffs have started, it has been especially handy to have gal pal in lineups that were reportedly 30 minutes long.

Rogers Place needs to be more equitable in its bathroom accommodations, Danielle Paradis writes for Metro.

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Rogers Place needs to be more equitable in its bathroom accommodations, Danielle Paradis writes for Metro.

In the name of potty parity, I say we bring back the gross but very efficient pee troughs for the men.

And it’s time to give women back our bathrooms.

Some people wonder why women go to the washroom in pairs. For one, it’s to talk about you, but the other reason is because since we’re always standing in line, it’s nice to have someone to chat to.

Since the Oilers playoffs have started, it has been especially handy to have gal pal in lineups that were reportedly 30 minutes long.

The wait times are even longer than usual because of a decision by Rogers Place to switch two women’s bathrooms into men’s.

The general manager of Rogers Place claimed in interviews that they have recorded a drastic decrease in women’s attendance in the playoffs. Susan Darrington went so far as to tell Global News that they were happy with the change because men were getting through faster, even if it meant women had to wait a little longer. I reached out to Darrington for a clarification on her comments but did not hear back.

For female-dominated events, such as Dolly Parton, Dixie Chicks and The Lumineers, spokesperson Tim Shipton told the Canadian Press on Wednesday that Rogers Place has switched over men’s washrooms to accommodate women.

Fine, but that doesn’t make all things equal. It could be that it is time to move beyond the majority of washrooms being gender segregated.

Maybe there are more men than women at the game, although Rogers Place hasn’t given us the data to prove it, but the underlying assumption still seems to be that women are used to waiting in line—so why not take away from them to provide for men’s comfort?

Of course, Rogers Place is not the only venue that fails to accommodate women’s needs. Bathroom designers fail to adequately consider the differences between how men and women use the washroom space. To start with, men don’t have to get undressed to pee. Also, urinals are not enclosed so they take up far less space than stalls do.

And, while we are making great gains on equal parenting, it is still mostly mothers changing diapers and taking the little ones to the john (of course, providing family bathrooms and equipping men’s rooms with changes tables will go a long way in helping this).

Now, under the Alberta Building Code, buildings with a capacity over 400 people are to have a 2:1 ratio of women's toilets to men's toilets and urinals. Switching washrooms means that women are far more disadvantaged. It doesn’t help that women are under-represented among designers, architects and building code officials.

Rogers Place has 485 toilets, well above the 172 minimum standard set by the Alberta Building Code, but the arena has grouped people into tiers where premium ticket holders don’t have to use the pleb bathrooms.

Both Canada and the US have faced backlash for the women’s bathrooms that do not meet women’s needs. And while I think Rogers Place has attempted to be even handed they have, possibly unknowingly, followed a long tradition of issues only coming to the surface when they inconvenience men.

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