Ministers will today unveil plans to boost the number of female-only toilets to protect women from the surge in mixed-sex bogs.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick will launch a review to guarantee all publicly accessible toilets have female-only cubicles to prevent women having to queue ages for the loo.
Evidence shows increasing numbers of publicly accessible toilets are being converted into ‘gender neutral facilities’ – causing problems for women and the elderly in particular.
The Communities department said excessive queues for toilets and a lack of access to appropriate facilities was making women more reluctant to going out or taking trips that many take for granted.
And they are less likely to feel comfortable using mixed-sex facilities, research found. There has been a growing trend towards replacing female only facilities with gender neutral toilets despite public authorities having a duty to provide safe spaces for women.
Last year the Old Vic theatre in London sparked controversy after abolishing female-only toilets. The Government’s review will ensure better provision of toilets for women.
The review will also look at signage, which should be clearer and use sex-specific language, to avoid confusion.
It will consider the ratio of female toilets needed versus the number for men, given the need for women to use always use cubicles, and will address misconceptions that removing sex-specific toilets are a requirement of equality legislation.
This is already the case for regulations and guidance for the provision of toilets in schools, where separation provision of male and female toilets is required.
Mr Jenrick said: “The review that I have launched today will help women be assured of the necessary provision of toilets. This is a necessity, and I have listened to the concerns raised by many women and the elderly in relation to this issue.
“I have launched a review to establish the best way to deliver this as a priority and make sure that women can expect a sense of dignity, security and safety when using facilities. We want to maintain safeguards that protect women and the proper provision of separate toilets, which has long been a regulatory requirement, should be retained and improved.”
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