'Occupy Men's Toilet' catches on in China

China's 'Occupy Men's Toilet' protests to highlight inadequate lavatories for women in the country is gathering steam with a group of girl students using men's toilets in the capital.

Styled on the lines 'Occupy Wall Street protests' in the US, the women protesters, mostly students, used men's toilets at Deshengmen here yesterday to prevail on the authorities to improve sanitary facilities for ladies.

Volunteers outside the toilet held banners demanding "More conveniences for women, more gender equality" and "If you love her, don't let her wait in line", state run China Daily reported today.

"It's more difficult for women to answer the call of nature than for men as there are insufficient public women's toilets and the time women spend in the toilet is two or three times more than that of men," organiser Li Tingting, 23, a university student from Beijing said.

Wang Lailin, 20, a university student from Zhengzhou, in Central China's Henan province felt the first flush of success after she used the men's toilet in Beijing.

"Women were waiting outside the ladies toilet for a long time and some were using the men's toilet. So I followed them. It was quicker and I saved time as I had a train to catch," she said.

Li, who started the novel protests a few days ago, staged the first 'occupation' on February 19 at a public toilet in Guangzhou, which triggered a fierce public debate.

The urban management commission of Guangzhou immediately responded saying new and renovated women's toilet cubicles in the city were required to cover an area at least 1.5 times that of a men's cubicle.

Colleges and universities in Guangzhou have already enlarged women's cubicles.
Similar incidents can be traced back to 1996 in Taiwan.

Following a protest by a group of female college students, toilet cubicles for women were renovated and made bigger.

According to an online survey on Chinese microblogging website Sina Weibo, about 84 per cent of netizens, out of the 2,824 who replied, were in favour of building more public toilets for women, while 9 per cent were against it.

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