Inadequate access to a private, comfortable, and well-located toilet remains a critical challenge for many girls and women around the world. This issue is especially acute for girls and women living in densely populated urban slums, displacement camps, and informal settlements, often resulting in anxiety, embarrassment, discomfort, and gender-based violence. The unique sanitation needs of girls and women are rarely accounted for during the design and construction of toilet facilities, including needs related to their physiology, reproductive health processes, prevalent social norms, and their heightened vulnerability to violence. It is critical that a new norm be developed regarding the design of female-friendly toilets which better enables girls and women to feel confident, safe, and dignified while managing their daily sanitation needs. This includes adopting specific design measures which account for their menstrual hygiene, personal safety, and dignity-related needs. Ultimately, an enhanced dialogue must take place among designers, policy makers, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) practitioners, and other relevant actors, in addition to the target female users themselves, about how to adapt toilets in a range of development and emergency contexts and operations to better address these critical needs of girls and women.
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