Woman sparks outrage over lack of public toilets

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While the not yet formed Dutch government is getting ready to present their non-budget on Prinsjesdag, the day the budget is presented after the monarch gives a speech and women wear fancy hats — non-budget because we haven’t had a government since March and there is no budget — the country is being subjected to a story about a woman who was fined 140 euro for peeing in the street in downtown Amsterdam after hours. If a man was caught doing this, it just wouldn’t be news.

Taking a wee in an alley after the bars closed and no public bathroom in sight, the woman was fined for doing something illegal and getting caught – check. The case took two years to get to court, and 50 euro was knocked off the fine because it took too long – check. There are 35 urinals in downtown Amsterdam, only three public bathrooms for women, the closest of which was 2 km from Leidseplein (there’s an app for that!), one of the major pub districts – deemed sexist.

The woman says the fine was ‘sexist’, fought the fine and lost, and now the entire country’s talk shows are discovering yet another thing that does not cater to women. She even quoted Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights that protects from discrimination. “There was absolutely no alternative to pee in the proper place, but if I had been a man, there would have been.” Nope, the bar she had just left wouldn’t let her back in and it was too far to wait to get home. Remember, men just go pee in an alley and that’s socially acceptable without further scrutiny.

Installing public toilets should be a simple fix, you can even charge for them like at train stations, which means women yet again have to fork out more to pee than men, but it would at least have been an alternative. The male judge said ‘you could have peed in a urinal’, which surprised everyone, and even agreed with her that not having enough places to pee for women is sexist, which puts the blame on the city for not catering to women. To be continued.

(Links: ad.nl, nrc.nl)

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