The British government is expected to announce that all new office buildings, schools, hospitals and entertainment venues must have separate male and female lavatories, as a means of avoiding the "forced sharing" of gender-neutral facilities, according to The Telegraph.
The Telegraph reported the government wants to preclude non-residential buildings from being built solely with "universal" lavatories.
This construction mandate will involve changes to building regulations and planning guidance.
Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch spearheaded the plans that were quietly approved by ministers last month, after Badenoch learned that some children were avoiding using lavatories at school, since the facilities were gender-neutral.
Badenoch insists that it is both legal and "important" to provide single-sex spaces for men and women.
The ministers reportedly view the new initiative as a "common-sense" approach toward reversing a growing trend of gender-neutral lavatories becoming the default option in new buildings.
The move also follows a review launched by Robert Jenrick, the former housing secretary, which reportedly identified concerns held by women about the reduced privacy and longer lines resulting from gender-neutral facilities.
Citing one submission to the British government, the Fair Play for Women group recently said women were "disadvantaged" by gender-neutral facilities that contain both urinals and cubicles, "since they cannot use urinals, whereas men can use the cubicles."
"Furthermore, many women and girls are unwilling to walk past the urinals to get to the cubicles in the former men's facilities," the group added.
One government source told The Telegraph: "It is vital that women feel safe and comfortable when using public facilities and that there is a greater emphasis on provision that is focused on dignity, privacy, tolerance and respect for all.
"These changes will stop the march of 'universal' and forced sharing of spaces — with a focus on guaranteeing privacy for all. This is a common-sense approach that is inclusive for all."
The guidance will apply to buildings over a certain size, with the approved dimensions being announced sometime this fall, after a technical consultation.
Government Property Agency guidance will also be updated to ensure that new or re-developed government-owned buildings provide single-sex toilets, the Telegraph reported.
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