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Civil Service Toilet Conversion - Gender-neutral.

(53 Posts)
HedgehogsRock Thu 01-Aug-19 21:33:35

Posting for a friend (honestly!) who can't afford to be identified as she could lose her job. Apologies for the lack of details, but this is necessary unfortunately.

My friend is a Civil Servant and works in a very big office area. There has been a major works project carried out, spending an obscene sum on converting most of the toilet facilities to gender-neutral, a.k.a. mixed-sex, a.k.a. don't give a flying feck about women. There was no necessity to undertake any modernisation at all of the facilities as they are all relatively new and fairly pristine and no-one was consulted about whether or not they were happy to share facilities with the opposite sex.

The majority of women are not using these shared facilities and are walking to different areas of the buildings, to use the few toilets that are still 'women only', which of course wastes more time while clocked in at work. There are also longer queues at times, as there are so many women using fewer facilities.

None of the women feel able to complain about it as this is heresy and anyone who does, is very aware that they will be in deep doo-doo with the Woke management there. My friend's manager is very enthusiastic about the whole concept and how progressive it all is hmm. The union have glugged much of the Kool-Aid too and will not help the women there either. To be fair though, nobody seems to have complained to the Union so far, but this is because they feel they would be viewed as the problem rather than having a legitimate concern.

There are only a few women who have been able to talk in whispers about this and are even afraid to ask others how they feel, in case Big Brother is watching and they will be reported to management. Resistance is futile and dangerous.

How did we get to this ridiculous position, where a few people could make a decision that would affect so many women, so negatively, without even giving women's requirements and opinions a second thought?

Are all of the Civil Service facilities being converted similarly and do management really have no concept that women require privacy and dignity, as well as safety?

What do we have to do before anyone listens to us and our very real concerns and how did women suddenly become so powerless?

NeurotrashWarrior Thu 01-Aug-19 21:59:12

Similar thread was around recently that might help; you may need the law on your side too.

truthisarevolutionaryact Thu 01-Aug-19 22:01:38

Deleted at OP's request

HedgehogsRock Thu 01-Aug-19 22:01:41

I'll pass that on and have a look around for the other thread thanks.
Any input will be helpful, although tbh, I'm not sure what (if anything) she will feel able to do about it.

NeurotrashWarrior Thu 01-Aug-19 22:03:37

Not exactly the same but may be helpful

Civil Service Trans policy - what can I do? http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/3520371-civil-service-trans-policy-what-can-i-do

NeurotrashWarrior Thu 01-Aug-19 22:05:20

jackyholyoake has posted a lot of info around re actual laws

Lysistrataknowsherstuff Thu 01-Aug-19 22:05:25

Isn't the Civil Service subject to FOI requests? As such you could request all their decision making and impact assessments on her behalf. Then she'd be able to see whether assessments have been done or not and go from there.

truthisarevolutionaryact Thu 01-Aug-19 22:06:32

womansplaceuk.org/gender-neutral-toilets-dont-work-for-women-2/?fbclid=IwAR3F939wM3GpaTpwrAVZhUq2CFpzRWMa651-bjq0cSQmcDQ1HLF-myHj8NQ

bettybeans Thu 01-Aug-19 22:08:19

If you're worried about management is there perhaps an anonymous whistleblowing mechanism you can use? It might not fit the remit of the mechanism but you could set out your rationale and explanation in your intro?

PierreBezukov Thu 01-Aug-19 22:09:07

There was a terrible thread on here about women in the civil service being admonished for their expressions on finding a born male in the women's toilets - their expressions fgs!

It's called facecrime. It's in 1984.

This is all literally Orwellian.

NeurotrashWarrior Thu 01-Aug-19 22:09:22

FWIW, I've seen this happening in primary schools for staff and secondary schools for the pupils as well except that all are single cubicles directly off a main corridor with a sink within them. So all effectively single unisex loos. (Secondary school teacher said it was great as no graffiti in the loos as everyone knew who'd done it.) so it's been a really shit design and probably breaks some laws or building regs somewhere.

truthisarevolutionaryact Thu 01-Aug-19 22:12:11

To be fair PierreBezukov - I misremembered. She turned round and walked out - Neurotrash has just posted the link to the thread - and it is chilling.

BackOnceAgainWithABurnerEmail Thu 01-Aug-19 22:15:06

In dfe, only the London office has gender neutral loos, they aren’t on all floors and they converted both the male and female secondary loos. Doesn’t make it right but it’s not as bad as suggested - they knew they needed single sex too.

GrapefruitIsGross Thu 01-Aug-19 22:15:17

To be fair though, nobody seems to have complained to the Union so far, but this is because they feel they would be viewed as the problem rather than having a legitimate concern.

If there’s multiple women willing to complain, they shouldn’t brush them off.

Even if the union could raise a collective issue- saying that staff don’t like unisex toilets that haven’t been designed to facilitate privacy for those who don’t like sharing their loo with someone of the opposite sex.

They don’t even need to mention trans/non binary stuff if they’re worried about wokeness- just that these particular shared toilets aren’t appropriate.

BackOnceAgainWithABurnerEmail Thu 01-Aug-19 22:15:42

I don’t work there but I have a friend who I asked after seeing a previous thread.

PierreBezukov Thu 01-Aug-19 22:19:33

There are only a few women who have been able to talk in whispers about this and are even afraid to ask others how they feel, in case Big Brother is watching and they will be reported to management

This is very 1984.

OccasionalKite Fri 02-Aug-19 01:58:51

Ask for the Equality Impact Assessment. It is a statutory requirement in certain situations. Civil service being one of them.

Alislia17 Fri 02-Aug-19 03:11:32

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

WaitingForAGovernment Fri 02-Aug-19 07:14:03

Good practice is for staff networks to be consulted in advance, your friend could ask whichever network(s) she fits into when they were asked and what they said (there will be networks for LGBT, women, various religious networks, often BAME and disability networks, there may be more depending on the Department). If the answer is that they weren’t, that would give your friend a way of raising the issue via that network rather than individually, and based upon the legal list of protected characteristics.

stucknoue Fri 02-Aug-19 07:19:11

What is wrong with unisex at work though, we have unisex and it's fine. There's more women than men so it's an advantage to use all the toilets. These are not being shared with random strangers, they are friends and colleagues.

SnuggyBuggy Fri 02-Aug-19 07:22:34

Maybe we are going to go back to the days when women had to stay home when they had their periods

Juells Fri 02-Aug-19 07:30:25

What is wrong with unisex at work though, we have unisex and it's fine.

It doesn't really matter whether you think they're fine or not, does it? If other women don't. WTF with the 'friends and colleagues'? Not everyone is that friendly with their co-workers of opposite sex.

WaitingForAGovernment Fri 02-Aug-19 07:54:52

stuck That’s exactly what an EIA would look at. Off the top of my head:
- the religious networks would consider if it would stop some women feeling able to use the toilets, for religious / cultural reasons
- the women’s network would look at stuff relating to women experiencing periods / miscarriages / menopause related issues and other physically female stuff, and whether it would cause any problems from that point of view
- the disability networks would look at whether this would create more demand for disabled loos and whether that would disadvantage people with disabilities

All these considerations, plus more (you need to cover all the protected characteristics plus it’s good practice to go broader where relevant) would be covered in the EIA.

At that point, there is sufficient evidence to make an informed decision, based on a thorough analysis of the needs and wishes of everyone involved.

EverardDigby Fri 02-Aug-19 08:49:11

* These are not being shared with random strangers, they are friends and colleagues.*

I have had colleagues who have been in prison for armed robbery (though actually he was lovely, but hardly anyone else knew his history!), fraud (both creeps) and viewing child pornography / sexual assault. I was repeatedly raped by a colleague I had a relationship with, and have been groped by my boss. Not keen to share a toilet with any of them other than possibly the armed robber at a push.

thatdamnedwoman Fri 02-Aug-19 09:28:47

Ask whether an impact assessment was carried out and then get women to contact whoever conducts it to point out that it's having a major impact on them personally and their productivity — as they have to seek out and queue to use distant facilities.

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