20 Jan 3 Reasons Why Your Office Should Consider Gender Neutral Bathrooms
For our third blog on expressing identity at work, we’re tackling a hot button issue: gender neutral bathrooms. Also called unisex bathrooms, gender neutral bathrooms are gaining coverage and attention in societies around the world. We recognize that changing social norms and expectations is a messy process that takes time. No real or meaningful change is easy. If you’ve been wondering why people want gender neutral bathrooms, or whether your office should consider making the change, we wanted to share 3 reasons why you might want to take a second look.
They Foster an Inclusive Work Culture
With our societal notions of gender constantly changing, it’s time to start building safe and inclusive spaces for people of all gender identities. Statistically we know that nonbinary, gender nonconforming, and trans people are much more likely to face discrimination and harassment in gender specific toilets. Changing your office bathrooms to include a gender neutral option shows your employees, and people visiting your office, that you are working toward an inclusive work environment. Even if it’s not possible to change the physical layout of your bathrooms, designating one gender neutral goes a long way.
They Can Help Build Gender Parity
Another less-talked about reason for gender neutral bathrooms is that they are likely to reduce the waiting time for the women who use your facilities. In gender segregated bathrooms, with 50/50 split of floorspace, women wait an average of 6 minutes and 19 seconds, where men wait an average of 11 seconds (see Bathroom Layout 1). If we build gender neutral bathrooms with stalls only, the wait time balances out for all people at 2 mins and 10 seconds (Bathroom Layout 3). If you are aiming for gender parity in your office, you should start to look at making your bathrooms gender neutral.
They Can Impact the Health of Your Employees
Waiting to use the toilet can have negative health ramifications for women. Women who wait longer are more likely to incur added health problems like urinary tract infections. Women who are pregnant or have given birth need to urinate more frequently, and menstruating women also take longer using the toilet. Women are also statistically more likely to be caring for children and elderly, and therefore require more time in the toilet. Making your toilets gender neutral can also show your female employees, clients, and customers that you take their health needs seriously.
Whether you work in a customer facing business or not, gender neutral toilets should be a consideration for your work environment. We recognize that offices and workplaces have physical limitations, but there are ways to adapt your spaces to make them more inclusive, equitable, and healthy.