With the current most common bathroom design, women wait an average of six minutes to go while men wait just 11 seconds
As Im writing this, my plane is boarding and I need to pee. I can see from where Im sitting (cross-legged) that the line to the womens bathroom spills out onto the concourse. Women walk over quickly then their footsteps suddenly slow in disappointment as they see the wait ahead.
Two feet over, the entrance to the mens bathroom looks like a semi-abandoned, perfectly-preserved relic. I watch a man disappear in and come back out again so fast that he cant have possibly waited (or washed his hands).
I can either hold it or risk missing my flight. I decide to do the first, then use the onboard wifi to research the gender disparity in bathroom wait times.
In 2017, two professors at the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture at the University of Ghent used a mathematical model for queueing. The formula is more than 100 years old and still used by call centers to figure out how many operators are needed to achieve minimal wait times.
The professors equations made some assumptions though; that frustrated people did not leave the queue (I have done this many, many times) and it assumed that men spend the same amount of time in the urinal as in the bathroom stall (hmmmmm no) but their overall results are still fascinating.
They studied different bathroom layouts by using a computer to simulate wait times by gender. Weve illustrated them below to see what would reduce the gender disparity when it comes this most basic function of human life.