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Single-sex toilets to be mandatory in all public buildings
4 July 2022, 17:00 | Updated: 4 July 2022, 17:02
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Public buildings will be forced to have separate male and female toilets, Tory ministers announced today.
The change, agreed by Boris Johnson's government last month, will apply to all public officers, hospitals, schools and entertainment venues.
The move has been seen as an effort by ministers to stop public buildings from being built solely with unisex toilets.
The plans are aimed at ‘reining in’ the forced sharing of gender neutral facilities and are being spearheaded by the equalities minister Kemi Badenoch, the Telegraph reported.
She said it is “important” to provide single-sex spaces for men and women.
A review found women had concerns over reduced privacy and longer queues caused by neutral facilities.
A Government source told the paper: “It is vital that women feel safe and comfortable when using public facilities and that there is a greater emphasis on provision that is focused on dignity, privacy, tolerance and respect for all.
“These changes will stop the march of ‘universal’ and forced sharing of spaces - with a focus on guaranteeing privacy for all. This is a common sense approach that is inclusive for all.”
Ministers will launch a formal consultation process in the Autumn.
Badenoch said: "It is vital that women feel safe and comfortable when using public facilities, and that their needs are respected.
"These changes will ensure that separate toilets for men and women are preserved at the same time as providing universal toilets for those that want them."
Buildings will be allowed to house unisex toilets, but only where single sex toilets are already available. Buildings under construction, where consent is necessary for the works, will also be expected to have single sex toilets.
Women's facilities must be self contained, with basins and hand dryers, for privacy, under the changes.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: "The rise in ‘gender neutral’ toilets raised safety concerns from women who feel they are losing privacy and being unfairly disadvantaged.
"The approach will mean women, who may need to use facilities more often for example because of pregnancy and sanitary needs, have appropriate facilities."