Four in 10 UK workers ‘do not want their employer to introduce gender neutral bathrooms’

Employees discuss workplace diversity in the UK

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More than a quarter (27 percent) of Italian respondents, meanwhile, do not have this facility but would like to see it brought in.

A further 40 percent of employees in the United Kingdom aren’t sure if their company has an ‘inclusion council’, and nearly a quarter (23 percent) do not want to see gender-neutral language encouraged.

This is overshadowed by Mexican and American companies, where four in 10 already work somewhere that encourages the use of neutral pronouns.

The research was commissioned by global hygiene and health company Essity, whose spokesperson said: “Our results found the UK is perhaps a little behind other nations when it comes to being open-minded.

“It doesn’t necessarily have to mean one or the other. Where space allows, businesses can provide male and female bathrooms while also offering a gender-neutral option.

“Ultimately the goal should be to show more understanding and tolerance towards your colleagues and visitors without making anybody feel uncomfortable.”

Nearly a fifth (18 percent) of respondents from the UK workforce says their company does not offer transition-related care for transgender employees – and they don’t want them to start.

Another 20 percent would not like to see their employer targeting recruitment towards minority groups.

And just under a quarter (23 percent) would even be disappointed to see their work canteen offering a variety of foods for all preferences and cultures.

Just seven per cent of businesses have non-specific gender signs designating their bathrooms.

And only one in 10 proactively recruits from under-represented groups, according to the data.

However, 51 percent believe their workplace implements a zero-tolerance policy towards bullying, harassment, and use of inappropriate language.

And more than a third (36 percent) have seen diversity training conducted throughout their organisation.

The in-depth research and subsequent scoring system – – was developed by hygiene and health company Essity.

It revealed the US was deemed the country most likely to have workplaces that ‘celebrate employee differences’ – with Italy least.

American workplaces are also the best for employees to be invited to share their backgrounds, religious and cultural practises, with 38 percent of employers encouraging this.

In France, by comparison, just 17 percent of workers report this initiative in their workplace.

Essity’s spokesperson added: “It’s interesting to see the differences between what employers have brought into their businesses – and what the employees want.

“Anything that can make marginalised employees feel more included – regardless of the reason – should be encouraged.

“Perhaps employers should first be educating staff members on the importance and reasons behind these changes, before making them.”

To encourage both workers and employers to think more about their business and to find out how diverse it really is, Essity has developed a series of questions –


  1. Mexico – score 113
  2. Ireland – score 97
  3. Spain – score 91
  4. United States – score 89
  5. Netherlands – score 89
  6. Germany – score 74
  7. France and Italy – both scoring 73
  8. Sweden – score 47
  9. United Kingdom – score 38


Employees work in a diverse workforce – 70 percent

Business recruits from diverse backgrounds – 46 percent

Business makes provisions for dietary requirements – 25 percent

Equal pay men and women – 60 percent

Equal pay regardless of race, religion, disability, nationality – 65 percent

Business offers the same opportunities to men and women – 51 percent

Business offers the same opportunities regardless of race, religion, disability, nationality – 62 percent

Non-Christian workers are allowed paid time off to celebrate religious occasions – 40 percent     

Staff are able to take sick leave to address mental health – 58 percent

Business provides somewhere for staff to take prayer breaks – 31 percent

Business caters for disabilities, visual and hidden – 55 percent

Meeting rooms are provided for breastfeeding/expressing milk – 22 percent

Staff receive paid time off for antenatal/fertility appointments – 37 percent

Business provides additional maternity/paternity leave / pay above statutory – 30 percent

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