Women are urging Westminster to “issue further guidance” to the Scottish Government on the need to provide female-only toilets.
For Women Scotland (FWS) argues that forcing women and girls to share toilet facilities with men is dangerous and contrary to single-sex protections afforded to women by the Equality Act 2010.
In its submission to a consultation on toilet provisions for men and women in England, FWS asked the UK Government to “support” Holyrood in meeting its Equality Act obligations.
The consultation document recognises that single-sex provision has “often been replaced with gender-neutral toilets”, placing women at a “significant disadvantage”.
FWS agreed, adding that while the rationale often given for introducing gender-neutral toilets is to allow people who say they are transgender greater access to facilities, it has actually led to reduced provision for women.
The group raised concerns that gender-neutral facilities could lead to increased danger of assault by men and the added risk of “spy cameras and upskirting”.
It also stated: “In Scotland, parents’ groups have campaigned against gender-neutral/mixed sex toilet provision in school buildings citing concerns about access, voyeurism and unsanitary conditions”.
FWS included evidence in its submission from the Royal Society for Public Health, which concluded in 2019 that “a fair ratio of toilet provision would be at least 2:1 in favour of women”.
The women’s rights group said the UK Government should ensure that the Scottish Government commits to meeting the same ratio for “single-sex female-only toilet provision”.
The group has also recently raised concerns about local authorities in Scotland replacing single-sex toilets with gender-neutral facilities in schools, despite the fact that they are ‘not legal’.