In a LinkedIn post on her Bold as Brass page Katherine Evans, brought to our attention a barrier which is stopping women from progressing or has caused them to leave our industry, this is a lack of access to welfare.
Katherine said: “By welfare, I mean toilets, a washroom, a portaloo so somewhere safe to pee, poo, a place to wash hands, to change period products when necessary without pushing bacteria into a vaginal cavity – causing infection, manage unpredictable and haywire perimenopausal periods and flooding, use flow appropriate period products that reduce the risk of death by toxic shock syndrome and sepsis (yes that happens), morning sickness and nausea, period diarrhoea, urinary and bowel urgency related to reduced pelvic floor strength (often as a result of female reproductive health), deal with UTI’s, IBS, Crohn’s disease, Bowel cancer, change a stoma, prevent and manage yeast infections and rinse period pants and cups and many other perfectly natural, perfectly normal bodily functions and health issues that a person who doesn’t deal with day to day don’t think about.
“I have personally bled through the only PPE I had on a site because the toilet door had been locked from the outside when I got there. I was told it’s for my own good because the men on site will use it for quiet poo time and leave it in a mess. So, to prevent the male site team from using a toilet, someone trying their best to manage their bodily functions is stopped from gaining immediate access to it too.
“Doesn’t everyone deserve a clean toilet? Are women seen as having a higher state of cleanliness than men? That’s pretty discriminatory to men on sites. What’s going on?”
The HSE states: “3.1. Suitable and sufficient sanitary conveniences must be provided or made available at readily accessible places. The provision of sanitary conveniences is an absolute duty. There is no exception to them being provided or made available”
Katherine went on to say: “There have been plenty of situations where I’ve asked about welfare and been told that it’s a bush. I say getting your genitals out in a public place isn’t ok.
“I’m definitely, not saying stop women locking toilets from the inside, I’m talking about the phenomenon that is locking women’s toilets from the outside with a key or keypad. When you cover multiple sites or you get to the site for the first time you don’t have the key, don’t have the keypad number, and don’t particularly want to walk past men with their penis in their hands at the urinals because it feels unsafe and terrible for the fellers too, where are you left? Wearing your bodily fluids is where.
“Can we stop this now, please? Can 2024 be the year?”
Commenting on the post Angela Mansell, Managing Director at Mansell Building Solutions and FIS North-West Chair said: “I’ve known this for a long time and thought it but never said it. It’s time to call out this behaviour and stop it now. So, women’s toilets are locked on sites because of the men. You don’t tolerate this behaviour at home so don’t tolerate it at work. It’s ridiculous. Please ask yourselves, what are you going to do to change this?”