RACHEL BROWN AGAINST STUFF (3)
Case Number: 3407
Council Meeting: June 2023
Decision: No Grounds to Proceed
Accuracy, Fairness and Balance
Comment and Fact
Ruling Categories: Gender
Stuff published an article on 9 June 2023 headlined Let women pee! The case for more ladies and unisex loos.
This was an opinion piece in which the author complained that women often had to queue outside toilets, while men seldom had to queue. She called for the installation of more women’s toilets or the wider use of unisex loos.
Rachel Brown complained the author had purposely left out facts, information and common knowledge to support her narrative and that the article breached Media Council Principles (1) accuracy, fairness and balance and (4) comment and fact.
She complained the author had referred to a study where it was actually a survey. The article had not set out why women took longer to use a toilet than men and that holdups might be caused by people using toilets for drug use. It had also not referred to the state of toilets at some large social gatherings and she also disputed the author’s view that unisex toilets might shorten queues.
The Media Council notes the article was a light-hearted but robust opinion piece that highlighted an issue for many women. The author drew on information from other publications, including the Guardian, which referred to a study that reported women took twice as long as men to go to the toilet and a survey reporting that more women than men reported having to queue at times. Nothing in the story turns on the distinction between study and survey.
The fact that the article did not refer to problems and explanations for toilet queues at public events that were identified by the complainant does not establish a case that the article was inaccurate, unfair or unbalanced.
Decision: There were insufficient grounds to proceed.