Woman’s Fine For Peeing In Public Sparks Sexism Row In Amsterdam

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Woman's Fine For Peeing In Public Sparks Sexism Row In Amsterdam

A case of a Dutch woman who was fined €90 (£80; $105) for urinating in an alleyway in the centre of Amsterdam has turned into a debate about sexism.

It was gathered that Geerte Piening, 23, was unable to reach a public toilet after a night out in 2015 and relieved herself in a backstreet in the city.

BBC reported that she was spotted by three police officers and fined €90 (£80) for the offence, known as “wildplassen” in Dutch.

However she decided to contest the issue due to the fact that the city has only three public toilets that can be used by women while there are 35 public urinals for men.

“At the time I really didn’t want to get involved in a discussion,” she said. “But the next day I thought, just a minute, I’m going to fight this.”

The judge, in this case a man, told her she should have used one of the men’s facilities rather than resorting to urinating in public, prompting a flurry of scornful tweets containing pictures highlighting the obvious difficulty women face trying to use a urinal.

The judge also claimed women were less likely to use public toilets and said Ms Piening was only the second woman he had seen court for this offence.

The judge further likened the offence to throwing litter on the street rather than in a bin, prompting one commentator to point out that banana peels or chocolate bar wrappers could be stashed in a pocket and dumped at any point in a gender-neutral bin.

Ms Piening insisted she had used the alleyway only as a last resort and said public facilities for women in other European capitals were far superior.

“Isn’t it embarrassing for a tourist city like Amsterdam that women have nowhere to go?” she told the AD newspaper,

“It wasn’t my intention that this would become an enormous feminist thing. On the other hand, it’s good it’s being addressed.”

The judge acknowledged there were fewer facilities for women but said the council was not obliged to provide them.

Women were less likely to use them anyway, he added, noting this was a rare case.

“You are only the second woman I’ve seen in court for this,” he was quoted as saying.

More than 5,000 protesters are set to join a demonstration on Friday in response to the judge’s suggestions that women should have to use men’s facilities.

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