The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) announced on 4th July that all new public buildings should have separate male and female toilets. The aim is to ensure women, who may need to use facilities more often because of pregnancy and sanitary needs, have appropriate facilities.
Evidence was gathered from a wide range of views, including from pregnant women, older people, disabled people and people who come under the protected characteristic of gender reassignment.
The Government said, ‘The rise in ‘gender neutral’ toilets raised safety concerns from women who feel they are losing privacy and being unfairly disadvantaged. Separate unisex (or universal) toilets should be provided if there is space, but should not come at the expense of female toilets.’
The Government has also announced the launch of a consultation in the autumn, to consider the design of unisex self-contained cubicles to maximise privacy, and whether improvements to disabled persons toilets should be made. However, it has said that disabled toilet provision will not be affected by the changes.
Kemi Badenoch MP 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. This is a common-sense approach.”
The proposed measures will apply to new public buildings over a certain size. This size will be determined during the consultation process.
Read the Government announcement here.