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Join the queue: Including women’s toilet needs in public space

Greed, Clara



The trend towards desegregated women’s and men’s toilets, including installing Gender Neutral Toilets (GNTs), and the implications of revisions to the Gender Recognition Act for women-only spaces, have brought into focus the pre-existing lack of female toilet provision in the UK. Looking at the problem from a town planning perspective, I argue that austerity-driven cuts are coming together with GNT provision to reshape the public toilet landscape in ways that continue to be detrimental to women. Typically women are only provided with half as many facilities as men, resulting in queues for the Ladies, and GNT provision based on relabelling rather than redesigned or additional provision can, in fact, increase competition for the cubicles in the Ladies. The historical, legislative and cultural reasons for this inequality are explored, along with the different types of public toilet and the different requirements of male and female users. The article draws on previous research project findings, many of which foreshadow the problems currently coming to the fore as a result of toilet desegregation. In conclusion, recommendations are made as to how to deal with the conundrum of providing adequate facilities for all women and men, whilst providing all sorts of individuals with choice and privacy to create inclusive, accessible cities for all.


Greed, C. (2019). Join the queue: Including women’s toilet needs in public space. Sociological Review, 67(4), 908-926.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 1, 2019
Online Publication Date Jul 12, 2019
Publication Date Jul 12, 2019
Deposit Date Aug 2, 2019
Journal The Sociological Review
Print ISSN 0038-0261
Electronic ISSN 1467-954X
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 67
Issue 4
Pages 908-926
Keywords Sociology and Political Science
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