Pay Toilets, Feminism, and Accessibility

Should We Pay to Pee?” -- Cheddar, 2018, 4:05 --

This short video provides an intriguing history of public toilets in the United States. We learn about CEPTIA (The Committee to End Pay Toilets in America) and their social movement was connected to the second wave of feminism. Public urinals were often free but stalls required a fee to enter, usually 10 cents. However, after pay toilets were largely eliminated in the 1970s, cities began to close public restrooms out of budgetary and crime concerns. This video doesn’t claim pay toilets were better or that we should go back to a similar model, but it does raise the urgency for clean public facilities. Certain populations, such as the elderly and women with children, are less likely to venture downtown if free facilities aren’t available. Therefore, if public toilets are good for cities and good for businesses, who should foot the bill?

From the video’s description: Pay toilets used to be commonplace in the United States. Now public restrooms are the norm. But the question still remains, who should pay and maintain these facilities? The government or individuals?