Unisex toilets are catching on in Shanghai

Unisex stalls are especially helpful to people who have young children or elderly people who may be in more urgent need.

There are more than 2,600 public toilets in the city, and one in 10 of them now have unisex stalls.

Zhang Feng, director of Shanghai Public Sanitation Environment Monitoring Center, said unisex stalls are especially helpful to people who have young children or elderly people who may be in more urgent need.

The figures were announced at a forum held to mark World Toilet Day on November 19.

The city’s new planning and design standard on public toilets, which was released in September, requires that unisex stalls should be installed inside toilets at commercial areas, transport hubs, scenic spots, parks, amusement parks, public entertainment venues and hospitals.

Unisex toilets were first installed in Shanghai in 2014.

By the end of last year, 10 and 8 percent respectively of all public toilets in urban and suburban districts had had such toilet stalls, up from 6 and 5 percent by the end of 2015.

This year most of the new unisex stalls were placed in Hongkou, Putuo and Baoshan districts where there were toilet reconstruction projects, said Zhang.

He added that those toilets have effectively reduced the inconvenience of people who take young children or elderly people to a toilet.

According to the latest standard, a unisex toilet must be equipped with flush toilets and sinks for both adults and children, a child safety seat, a nappy changing table and an emergency call machine.

Such toilet stalls are usually marked with the sign of a woman, a man and a wheelchair.

Li Xiaoyi, a mother of two toddlers, said she only recently found a unisex toilet in the Super Brand Mall in Lujiazui, Pudong. “Everything in the toilet is fine except that they only had a marble table for changing diapers,” she said. “I hope they can at least add a soft cushion on it.”

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