Women-only loos rule will ‘protect dignity’

The rule, hailed as a move to protect privacy and dignity, will also apply to buildings undertaking major refurbishment.

The Government acted because organisations are increasingly introducing unisex loos as they fear being accused of discriminating against transgender people.

Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch said: “It is important that everybody has privacy and dignity when using public facilities. Yet the move towards ‘gender neutral’ toilets has removed this fundamental right for women and girls.”

Ms Badenoch, who is also Secretary of State for Business and Trade, added: “These proposals will ensure every new building in England provides separate male and female or unisex facilities, and publish guidance to explain the difference, protecting the dignity, privacy and safety of all.”

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An exception will be made for facilities where the whole room, not just a cubicle, is designed to be used by one person at a time and can be locked from the inside.

In addition, existing rules requiring schools to provide separate toilet facilities for boys and girls aged eight or over will be strengthened.

Ministers believe the growing rise of neutral gender facilities raises concerns about privacy and dignity, particularly for women, as well as potentially causing longer queues.

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They are especially worried about the impact on women who may need to use facilities more often because of pregnancy or sanitary needs.

A new short consultation about how precisely the changes should work will open tomorrow.

A YouGov poll last year found 87 per cent wanted separate toilets for men and women. Some 35 per cent felt unisex toilets should be available for those that want them.

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