India Willoughby has said that she thinks there are good reasons “to have designated male and female spaces” as Bristol University announced it will spend £3.4 million to refurbish its toilets and provide more gender-neutral toilets across its campus.
India Willoughby, a presenter and broadcaster told talkRADIO’s Badass Women’s Hour: “In the context of Bristol University, I think young people are a lot more chilled about this whole subject.
“So if you are going to revamp the toilets and give them a bit of a refresh then why not, go down the gender neutral route. I don’t think it is a particular problem.
“On the other hand, the whole gender-neutral thing I am broadly speaking not a big fan. I like gender and I like the differences and I think there are certain aspects that are very good reasons to have designated male and female spaces.”
The University of Bristol is set to spend £3.4 million on refurbishing its toilets and providing more that are gender neutral.
‘It’s a bit more private’
Separate toilets provide “private” space for women to chat and do things “like their make-up”.
She added: “I think there are just good reasons, practical reasons, why men have their own bathrooms and women have ours as well.
“We can do things like our make-up, the chit-chat and it is a bit more private.”
Ms Willoughby then went on to add that she did not feel “neutralising” spaces was a good idea.
She said: “This is why I get crucified in the trans-world as it were because you are expected to subscribe and is supposed to tow the party line but I honestly don’t think neutralising, zapping everything and saying it should be gender-neutral is a good idea.
“I like to celebrate the differences of gender and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.”
‘An inclusive work and study environment’
A portion of the £3.4 million will be specifically put towards creating non-gendered toilets that will be available to people who identify as non-binary and/or do not identify as either male or female, as well as males and females.
Announcing on Twitter, the university's Equality, Liberation and Access Officer, Sally Patterson wrote: "Exciting news, @BristolUni be investing about £3.4million to refurbish University toilets, including creating gender neutral bathrooms.
"This will mean that both students and staff will have access to toilets where they feel comfortable, anywhere on campus!"
In a statement last year, the university said: "We are committed to creating and sustaining an inclusive work and study environment for all staff and students.
"We recognise that some members of the university community may identify as being non-binary and/or do not identify as either male or female and that non-gendered facilities such as toilets and changing facilities should be provided where possible.”