UK government bids to end the rise of the unisex toilet

24th of May 2024
UK government bids to end the rise of the unisex toilet

The UK government is bringing forward legislation requiring single-sex toilets to be incorporated into all new non-domestic buildings and refurbishments in England.

The news comes after a recent study found that women, the elderly and the disabled felt unfairly disadvantaged by the increasing trend to convert publicly accessible toilets into gender-neutral facilities.

A total of 81 per cent of people questioned in the study agreed with the intention to provide separate single-sex toilet facilities in public buildings. Respondents expressed concern about sharing a cubicle and hand-washing facilities, claiming that this could lead to a longer wait in shared queues as well as a decreased choice and lower levels of privacy and dignity.

"The new regulations will guide organisations to design unisex and single-sex toilets, ending the rise of so-called ‘gender-neutral' mixed sex toilet spaces which deny privacy and dignity to both men and women," said minister for women and equalities Kemi Badenoch.

"The announcement will also create better provision for women so that our particular biological, health and sanitary needs are met."

Changes to building regulations will mean that all new restaurants, shopping centres, offices and public toilets will be required to provide separate single-sex toilets for women and men. However, self-contained universal toilets with their own hand basin may be provided alongside them where space allows.

The Department for Education added that schools need to provide separate toilets for boys and girls aged eight years and over. And while colleges are not subject to the same legal requirements, the government is advising them to take the same approach.

 

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