Danielle Dong a Yakan is the Social Media Manager at madamePee, a manufacturer of women’s urinals. An estimated 100,000 women used madamePee last year, at 15 events across France, including the Women’s World Cup.
Whether you are a direct casualty or simply escorting your valiant significant other, sister or mother, the waiting lines at women’s toilets are a nightmare we wished we never had to experience.
Legend has it that women have queued for the loos since time immemorial and this situation is supposedly set in stone. However, it would be a mistake to think things cannot change. In fact, it has been proven that if the queues at women toilets are longer it is simply because of the lack of appropriate facilities. Some initiatives unsuccessfully tried to rectify this complete absence of options in the past so it is now time women are finally provided with fully functional urinals made just for them.
So here are 3 main reasons why female urinals should be the norm at every festival.
1 – To fight for gender equality
Going to the toilet at festivals can be an unforgettable experience for women, especially if waiting in lines for the toilet turns to be their main activity.
At outdoor events, the large majority of women standing in lines for the toilets are waiting to go pee and it can take up to 30 minutes holding it in before finally accessing the bathroom. And this happens a few times a day as we do not only pee once a day.
Once they are there, the only facilities they are offered are portable toilets they sometimes share with men who need to go poop.
On the other hand, men who are provided with urinals to pee and regular portable toilets are usually done in less than 5 minutes.
With the percentage of women attending events rapidly growing, wouldn’t it make sense to set new standards? Women can no longer wait to access the two options men have had for decades.
In 2018, women represented 44% of the crowd at UK festivals and we can safely assume it will continue to increase exponentially so will the lines to the loos.
In this respect, female urinals are formidable sanitary solutions to tackle the unequal access to public toilets women face. Providing infrastructures which adapt to the needs of women and not the other way around is an excellent opportunity to show the commitment of the event industry towards women’s rights.
2 – To improve the sustainability at events
Protecting the environment is an ongoing challenge and the event industry has made tremendous progress in this area.
From recycled cutlery or the phasing out of plastic glasses, any initiative is appreciated to reduce the ecological impact of events gathering large crowds.
But what about sanitary facilities?
Some portable toilets use chemicals, others waste up to 9L of water every time they are flushed! As a society we can no longer afford to waste resources like water and companies behind female urinals initiatives are well aware of that. Made from recycled materials the industrialised urinals for women on the market are all waterless. This way they are saving thousands of liters of precious resources per event.
The urine collected in the tanks of the urinals is another precious resource. Indeed, studies and researchers have shown that once it has been transformed, urine becomes an excellent eco-friendly fertilizer as it is full of nutrients. More and more farmers are using this natural resource instead of chemical pesticides that disrupt our entire ecosystem.
Many outdoor events choose to use composting toilets to reduce the use of water, and although this choice makes sense from an ecological point of view it does not allow the recycling of urine.
In the coming years, urine will become a very important resource, and urinals have a role to play in this revolution.
It might not seem like a big deal, but separating urine from feces could be the solution to produce tons of natural fertilisers. The nitrogen and phosphate contained in urine are perfect to grow plants and avoid chemicals.
On top of improving women’s access to sanitation, the democratization of female urinals is also an essential factor in favour of sustainable events.
3 – To ensure better level of hygiene
A clean space to relieve oneself shouldn’t be a luxury. Yet at events that attract large crowds it is not uncommon to have to put these considerations aside.
Decent facilities and unclogged toilets are sometimes harder to find in festivals than toilet paper – in times of pandemic.
If these difficult times have taught us anything, it’s that hygiene is not an area to be relegated to the background.
In 2017, 22.3% of festival attendees in the UK said that clean toilets were among the comforts they missed the most in festivals. This basic need is so important that some festivalgoers are willing to pay for an additional toilet service.
Festivalgoers are correct in demanding an impeccable level of cleanliness in spaces shared by so many people. At madamePee, a female urinal company, we chose to make our female urinal a 100% non-touch sanitation solution. We have also optimised our cabin to have the bin on the outside to facilitate the cleaning process in between users.
Dirty toilets can ruin a whole experience, but an optimal level of comfort can improve the perception of a festival and retain attendees for future editions.
The customer experience for festivalgoers has grown tremendously over the past few years.
The example of catering is the most striking. By diversifying the range of food on offer and improving the quality and sustainability of the menus thanks to the lines of very stylish food trucks, festivals have made catering a strong argument for visitors.
It is therefore fair to say that better sanitary facilities will have the same effect at outdoor events, for both women and men.
Female urinals are a necessity for gender equality, sustainability and hygiene. But they are also very practical ways to reduce queues at regular portable toilets and it benefits everybody.
With female urinals women will definitely be less likely to refrain from consuming drinks to avoid going to the toilet. This is a win-win situation event professionals should definitely consider when planning festivals.