Students stand up for lady loos

09:24, October 11, 2010      

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Women try out the new female urinals at Shaanxi Normal University. Photo: CFP

To stand and face, or back on and squat - that is the question. Female students at Shaanxi Normal University are being forced to adapt and learn how to use new urinal toilet facilities on their campus, that require them to stand up when they take a pee.

Six such facilities have been put into use at the university since September 26, on the orders of Qu Yajun, a professor at the university and a deputy to the National People's Congress, who said the new lavatories would save water.

Illustrations alongside the appliance explain how they should be used, and dividers have been set up to save any embarrassment while in the act. The tricky part for new users will be learning how to use a disposal paper device that directs the urine stream. Users will need to practice at least five times before they are able to master the correct method, according to Professor Qu.

"Due to the physiological differences between men and women, females need a stream controller to guide the urine into the urinal when they are standing," she said. "This is the hardest part of the process for women to accept."

Logical progression

Qu said that although the new facilities oppose cultural norms, the change is justified. A slogan over the urinal reads: "If all women stand to urinate, the university saves 160 tons of water every day."

When a female flushes after urinating, it uses the same amount of water used to flush a stool, which leads to a huge waste. According to the statistics, females urinate about 300 milliliters of urine at a time and need six liters of water to flush it, while males need at most just three liters of water. This means females use 10-12 liters more clean water than males through flushing each day.

Wang Wuhai, vice president of the university, said that the 16,000 female students at the university turn more than 60 tons of clean water dirty every day.

Saving space is another advantage. During the short break after classes, the ladies' room is always crowded. "Setting up urinals makes better use of the space," said Professor Qu.

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