Gender-neutral toilets would shorten queues, say researchers


All music festivals should stop separating men and women at the toilets, say two UGent researchers, which would improve overall wait times substantially

Rock Werchter doing it right

Efficiently planned gender-neutral toilets at Flanders’ music festivals would decrease the queues for women significantly: from an average six-minute-and-19-second wait to just under one-and-a-half minutes, according to Ghent University (UGent) researchers.

The waiting time for men would only increase from 11 to 58 seconds with such toilets, they said. The findings have been published in Flemish science magazine Eos.

Kurt Van Hautegem and Wouter Rogiest of UGent’s department of information processing examined wait times as music festivals and used a mathematical model to change the outcome based on not separating the toilets by gender.

One of the reasons women have to wait longer, said the researchers, is that they have fewer toilets than the men because of urinals, which take up a lot less space than cabins. This means there are 20 to 30% more toilets for men.

The pair recommend that all music festivals install cabins anyone can use, along with a modest number of urinals. They have asked festival-goers to flag up positive examples on social media with the hashtag #festivaltoiletten and poor examples with #indezeik.

At Rock Werchter, which starts today, the toilets on both the festival site and campsites are all mixed gender.