Woman who was caught urinating in public sparks sexism debate on male-dominated urinals

Judge tells woman she should use male urinal

Harriet Agerholm@HarrietAgerholm
Wednesday 20 September 2017 16:25
Geerte Piening was caught urinating in an alleyway in 2015
Geerte Piening was caught urinating in an alleyway in 2015

A woman has been fined after she urinated in an alleyway in the centre of Amsterdam, sparking a sexism row.

The Dutch capital has 35 male urinals, but only around three public toilets designed for women.

Geerte Piening, 23, decided to urinate on the street after a night drinking in the capital in 2015. She said she was around two kilometres away from the nearest public toilet when she was caught by three police officers.

"At the time I really didn't want to get involved in a discussion," she told the BBC. "But the next day I thought, just a minute, I'm going to fight this."

Handing down a €90 (£80) fine to Ms Piening, the judge told her she should have used a male urinal.

"It would not be pleasant but it can be done," the male judge reportedly said. He added that although there were not many public toilets in the capital, the council was not obliged to build more.

In response to the judge's comments, women have argued that the expectation they use a male urinal is ridiculous.

They have mocked the suggestion on social media with images demonstrating the practical difficulties of using the urinals alongside the hashtag "wildplassen" — the Dutch term used for peeing in public.

A protest was set to take place in central Amsterdam during which women tried to use a male urinal, but it was cancelled on Wednesday after organisers said too many people planned to attend.

Some 1,100 people said they were attending on Facebook, while another 7,900 said they were interested in going.

"The overwhelming interest means we have grown too big," Ms Hornstra said. "We can’t fit all the women who said they would come on that one spot."

Women are instead being urged to carry out mini protests at urinals across the city and upload photos to social media.

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