If a co-educational school has boarders, they may restrict boarding and associated boarding facilities to one sex.37
Single-sex establishments which are turning co-educational are also permitted to discriminate on grounds of sex in the admission of pupils if they have obtained a transitional exemption order (see Schedule 2 SDA for the appropriate procedure for application).
Positive action in access to facilities for training by employers
S48 SDA (margin note)
In certain circumstances the SDA allows employers to afford only their female employees access to facilities for training, to help fit them for particular work with that employer. Also employers may encourage job applications from women for particular jobs which are open to both sexes. Employers may only take these steps, however, where the number of women doing that particular work was comparatively small at any time in the previous twelve months. This provision applies equally to men where they are under-represented in particular work. This is a form of 'positive action' used to counteract the effects of past discrimination.
Before placing a 'positive action' advertisement to encourage one sex to apply for a job where that sex is under-represented, employers need to be sure exactly what the balance of the sexes is among their employees who are doing the particular kind of job to be advertised. If the terms of section 48 are satisfied, any publishers asked to carry an advertisement which includes special encouragement for one sex should be informed of this - preferably in writing - so that they know it is lawful to publish.
It is important to remember that, while section 48 allows employers to encourage one sex to apply for certain jobs (for example, to encourage women for jobs as engineers, surveyors, technicians or mechanics), it does not allow anyone to discriminate by sex when it comes to selecting who will be recruited or promoted.
Exceptions in communal accommodation and management of premises
S46 SDA (margin note)
It is lawful to discriminate in the admission to communal accommodation38 if the accommodation 'is managed in a way which, given the exigencies of the situation, comes as near as may be to fair and equitable treatment of men and women'. In considering this, account shall be taken of whether and how far it is reasonable to expect that the accommodation should be altered or extended, or further alternative accommodation be provided, and the frequency of the demand or need for use of the accommodation by men as compared with women. Section 46(5) extends the scope of the exception to benefits, facilities or services which cannot properly and effectively be provided except for those using the communal accommodation (for example, the provision of breakfast to residents or cleaning services). Section 46 might thus permit the provision of women-only domestic violence refuges if these provided either shared sleeping accommodation or sanitary facilities and it is not reasonable to expect the local authority to provide separate sleeping accommodation or sanitary facilities considering (amongst other
37 Even where they admit comparatively small numbers of the opposite sex as boarders.
38 Being residential accommodation used by women only, or men only, for reasons of privacy or decency as it includes shared sleeping accommodation, or because of the nature of the sanitary facilities.