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Wed, Nov 20, 2013
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More toilet cubicles for women next year
by Samantha Boh

Women may no longer have to put up with that long, agonising wait to use the loo at malls, cinemas and MRT stations. From June next year, new building developments must include more toilet cubicles for women, compared to those for men.

Instead of the current one-to-one ratio, developers are required to have five toilet cubicles catering to females for every three male cubicles or urinals. This was one of some 14 key changes made to the Code of Practice on Environmental Health (Copeh), and will apply to toilets in areas with peak usage, such as shopping malls and MRT stations.

The revision follows requests from the public.

A United States study in the 1980s showed that women spent about 79 seconds in the loo. Men clocked out at only 47 seconds. The use of cubicles instead of urinals typically takes longer.

The National Environment Agency said the new ratio was "more than" that under "international guidelines" but was "consistent with cities with high population density".

This comes as a relief to accountant Jun Chan, 23, who said she once had to wait 20 minutes for her turn at a public toilet in a shopping centre. "I hope it helps to ease the traffic flow at public toilets," she said.

Copeh was last reviewed in 2005. Other changes include grab bars to help elderly men use urinals.

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