Sunday, February 22, 2015

Independence of Women, yet to win in India

Independence of Women, yet to win in India

Yesterday, on 68th Independence Day we heard a loud and bold message of the Pradhan Mantri (Sevak) of India; "Provide Toilet to Women of India".

Do you think that it is an easy task? Is it doable?

I had an opportunity to present this challenge of India in HKS, Harvard, USA in "Creating Collaborative Solution" Trg programme during 20-25 October 2013.

How to maintain Community Hygiene of the Village Community which is good at Personal Hygiene?

I spoke on toilets, drainage, daily cleaning and solid liquid waste management, cowdung pits utilisation.

Temple or Toilet? is a big debate in the Country now a days. Traditionally, people defecate in open farms in the Country. They defecate away in farms to keep their living space more pure. There are three major reasons noticed: a) keeping excreta away from house for better health and hygiene; b) walking half a kilometer away for toilet is good for cleaning intestines fully (village population have less problem of constipation!) and; c) excreta is useful as fertilizer in the farm.

Our lady colleague from Orissa added one more reason, i. e., "toilet meetings of women" as in a parda system life of India, this is the only place for women to dialogues and ventilate their feelings with other women. In day time it is not possible to meet and talk to them privately.

Constructipn of toilet structure can be done but capital cost on drainage line or soack pits will be a bigger challenge to answer.

My group of foreign participants in HKS was so much convinced with the reasons of open defecation that some started defending the present system of open defecation in India!!!

With population pressure, electricity in villages, and mobility of people around, privacy of individuals has been challenged, particularly of women. Therefore, there is an urgent need to provide toilets to all individual households.

In a developed State like Gujarat, 3.5 million housholds are without toilets in rural area of 6.7 million households. 13% of the people provided with toilets are not using it. Some use toilet as store room. Govt subsidy available under NBA but the amount is still insufficient to build a toilet and the bathroom facility is far away, will take more years.

I had an opportunity to present the same challenge before the CM (present PM), followed by an action plan "Mahatma Gandhi Swatchata Misson" in the State.

One of the Collectors studied the problem and found that some females are not ready to have toilet at home because daily cleaning of toilet will become their additional job. At present, they are free from this burden.

Females in villages are facing another major problem: carrying animal dung over head every morning.

The way women wait for dark for defecation, they take bath in dark everyday in a corner of a house covering the area with a small charpai.

Don't you think, Independence to Women of India is yet to win.



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