For those who believe the days of gender inequality at UR are gone, think again. The dorms are integrated and Todd Union is no longer a men’s social club, but a great gender disparity pervades campus – in the bathrooms.

Few may know that certain women’s bathrooms around the River Campus are far larger than those for men. The men’s bathrooms in Wilson Commons, the Meliora and the Frederick Douglass Building are very functional, with sinks, stalls and urinals.

The women’s bathrooms, on the other hand, boast a large sitting room equipped with a couch, mirrors and a makeup counter.

However, no one seems to know why.

[Former] Director of Student Activities and Wilson Commons Rob Rouzer said that women’s lounges are a tradition, but could not supply a reason.

Others on campus were similarly baffled.

“Historically, you will see lounges in many women’s restrooms,” Facilities Project Manager Paul Tankel said. “It’s hard to say what the architect had in mind.”

Maybe the architect thinks women converge in the bathroom for social gatherings. Maybe he thinks women take longer to go, so those in line need a place to wait. Or maybe he thinks women need to sit down when they feel faint or suffer from menstrual cramps.

You decide. It’s something to think about next time you’re sitting in the bathroom.

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