Metro Weekly

Yelp: More than 160,000 businesses have gender-neutral restrooms

Nearly a quarter of businesses with gender-neutral restrooms are restaurants, according to Yelp's data

Photo: sarahmirk, via Wikimedia.

Data from a new feature on Yelp that allows consumers to mark if a business has gender-neutral restrooms has been pouring in since the company introduced the feature in March, with more than 160,000 businesses being listed as having such facilities.

Consumers can either select an option to mark if a business has gender-neutral restrooms, or the business itself can log onto its profile and volunteer that information.

“We’re not trying to particularly highlight places that don’t have gender-neutral restrooms, we’re just trying to make it easy for folks to find places that do,” says Rachel Youngblade, senior public relations manager at Yelp.

According to the data from Yelp, 24% of businesses with gender-neutral restrooms are restaurants, followed by almost 15% that are categorized as beauty services, 14% that are health businesses, and 13% that are food establishments. About 7 percent are shopping-related businesses and another 7 percent are auto-related businesses.

“People generally eat out more often than they’re going to a health services business, or even a beauty service, so it makes sense that we’re collecting information from that business category the fastest,” Youngblade says. “But I would imagine that it’s accurate that restaurants do have a larger proportion of gender-neutral restrooms.”

She adds that Yelp has received a significant amount of feedback from its community of users since the gender-neutral restrooms option was added in March.

“It’s exciting to see consumers engaging with this feature so quickly after its launch,” Youngblade says. “The reason we added this feature is we think it will be valuable to consumers to be able to find businesses that offer gender-neutral restrooms. It’s cool to see this feature doing really well.”

For people who worry about users wrongly labeling businesses that do not offer gender-neutral restrooms, Youngblade says consumers can always make their own edits to a business’s online profile.

“You definitely could write a review of the business and talk about your firsthand experience there. I think that’s a a good way to clarify the information collected about a business,” she adds. “Something else I personally do when I’m at a business is to take a photo of the restroom sign and comment that ‘This business offers gender-neutral restrooms.’ I think it’s helpful for people to see that information in a variety of forms.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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