The requirements of women and girls are too often ignored in the planning and design of toilets, leaving them unable to use the toilet where and when needed.
Women have different sanitation requirements, for instance during menstruation, pregnancy and after menopause, that should be considered when designing and building public toilets.
Of particular importance is access to water and soap for cleaning hands or the body and for washing out reusable sanitary products, as well as somewhere to throw away sanitary protection if needed.
Women are more likely to be helping children or older people who may need assistance while using the toilet. They are also at higher risk of harassment or attacks when public toilets are badly located, too dark or not secure.
Unless women and girls are able to count on being able to find a suitable toilet when they need it, their daily life is restricted and often they are unable to enjoy a full social and economic life. This is particularly true for women who are older or have a disability.
The Female-friendly Public and Community Toilets Guide, written jointly by WaterAid, UNICEF and WSUP, provides a solution to the problem of facilities that fail to fully serve the requirements of more than half the population.
The guide recommends consideration of six requirements for female-friendly toilets: safety and privacy; allowing for menstrual hygiene management; accessibility; affordability and availability; good maintenance and management; and meeting the additional requirements of caregivers.