The story behind the first female urinal.
When I was four years old, I remember that sometimes I was trying to pee in the boy’s urinals at kindergarten. We had this open space bathroom with small toilets to sit on for everyone and next to them the urinals, for boys only. I still remember being jealous and not understanding why they had something more than us.
Twenty years later, I made Lapee, the first female urinal.
A Daily Problem
I remember my mother leaving a party because she couldn’t wait anymore in line for the toilet. I also remember her constantly holding back to pee and struggling a lot when we were outside. I did struggle myself, in public spaces, at parties, in bars, at concerts, in parks and more than ever at festivals. It was actually after participating in Roskilde Festival that I realised the dimensions of this struggle that womxn face all their lives, and how in some situations it can become extreme.
Womxn’s access to pee is a universal issue that can be observed not only in festivals, sports and outdoor events, but also in more hostile environments such as refugee camps, slums, and favelas. Sadly, it had been unsolved for year, as so many other inequalities against womxn.
Such a Simple Solution
At the same time, the solution is so simple and obvious. It is a bit strange that no one ever came up with the idea of a female urinal when the male version has existed for decades. I think the reason is because most people assume that womxn need a door, a lock, a hook for the bag, a mirror for makeup. They need to sit down and wipe with paper. On top of that, we as womxn are born and raised thinking that this is just how it is; we will have to struggle all the time to pee. But all we want is to pee in a safe and hygienic environment without waiting in line. I mean, just like men have always been able to do.
Once the idea of Lapee came out, it was a relief. Finally, womxn could pee in a hygienic and secure environment. Lapee is of course the product that solves the very basic need of access to urination. For me, Lapee is much more, though. I see Lapee as a symbol. A female urinal in 2020 symbolises gender equality and diversity. The feedback we get from womxn is that having Lapee around empowers them. They now know that someone takes into consideration their needs and rights.
I had enough of being embarrassed and anxious because I needed to pee. Trying to find a place to hide to do so, or leaving early from an event so I can get home and pee. At festivals, I was dreaming of a way to pee quickly without having to touch anything and without anyone seeing me.
This dream became true,
and it’s called Lapee.
Now the goal is to have Lapee in as many places as possible. We have already seventeen partners in twelve countries around the world that can deliver Lapee to festivals, sport events and public spaces. We have been working closely with municipalities, reshaping popular spots such as parks, flea markets, and areas for outdoor events as the future citizens need them; clean, safe and sustainable. Last summer within the Covid-19 crisis, Lapee was in the streets of Toulouse, Rennes and Copenhagen.
And this is only the beginning, as we are currently expanding our activities to developing countries by designing solutions that will upgrade hygiene and safety for all.
I want a society where womxn don’t have to worry about what they can and can’t do. I believe Lapee is another great step towards a future where womxn voices are heard and respected. And this future starts in the present where womxn support womxn. A more equal community for all is on the way and Lapee is definitely part of it.
Lapee and be free. Join the movement. •
Gina is the co-founder and CEO of Lapee.