The Hong Kong government is drafting an amendment to the Buildings Ordinance to increase the space given to female toilets in shopping malls, cinemas and places of public entertainment.
The amendment, which will change the ratio of male to female toilets from 1:1 to 1:1.5 in public areas, is expected to be submitted to the Legislative Council for discussion after the summer break this year.
In a Legco meeting Wednesday, Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong Pik-wan said it is very common to see a long queue outside the female toilets in public places, RTHK reported.
She said the government decided in 2011 to improve the situation by amending the Buildings Ordinance, but no bill has been submitted to Legco yet.
Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po said it will take a few years to finish a comprehensive revision of the Buildings Ordinance, so the government will first deal with the amendment about the ratio of male to female toilets.
It will take two months for the amendment to be drafted, he said.
Chan said the government has already been encouraging the construction industry to follow the new standard.
In April, the government launched a gender mainstreaming checklist, which requires different departments to consider gender equality when formulating policy.
Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, the secretary for labor and welfare, wrote on his blog in April: “The Buildings Department will enhance the ratio of female toilets in public areas. It is estimated the ratio of female toilets in shopping centres, department stores and cinemas will be increased by 60 percent, 160 percent and 150 percent, respectively.”
The gender mainstreaming checklist was designed by the Women’s Commission to assist government officials in evaluating the gender impact of new public policies, legislation and programs.
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