India is on its way to become a developed nation and there are various factors that will contribute to making it happen. Despite, having so many policies and systems in place, we are still aging behind in basic amenities and one of the major problems that the nation is facing is sanitation issues. It is an unhidden fact that sanitation facilities for women in India are in its worst state. Although the problem affects men, women, and children equally, the conditions worsen for women. This is because women going out for sanitation to have to face other issues like rape and molestation. There have been several cases that have unfolded this harsh reality.
Sanitation issues of women are not a matter of hygiene, it is a matter of their safety as well:
Recently many cases were reported which shows that women were either abducted or raped while they went out for sanitation and it’s not merely restricted to this issue. There are other problems that arise because of poor sanitation, and one of them being ill-health of people residing in the vicinity of the area where people go for sanitation. Directly or indirectly, the availability of personal in public toilet affects the mobility and safety of women.
Here are some grave statistics which demand immediate attention:
- As per data collected in 2011, lack of toilets prohibits 12-18-year-old girls to attend school for around 5 days every month.•
- A survey by AC Nielsen and NGO Plan India showed that 23% of girls drop out of school after reaching puberty.
- As per data collected, in the year 2012, in Bihar, 872 cases of rape were reported out of which 40% of the incidents happened while women went out for defecation.
- As per the RTI filed in the year 2012, BMC made 2849 toilets for women but, there was not a single separate toilet for women.
- As per WHO and UNICEF, in 2012, India has 626 million people who don’t have a closed toilet.
The problem is grave and needs immediate attention. Although recently we have seen some firm steps been taken by the government to improve sanitation, from providing the loan to educating people about good hygiene, there has been an improvement in this zone. Apart from government efforts, we have also seen movies like TOILET- EK PREM KATHA, which has hilariously highlighted this grave issue.
Sanitation is not only about ensuring hygiene, but it also affects other aspects of society:
- Many schools in rural areas don’t have proper sanitation which prohibits girls from going to school.
- It further leads to poor education for girls
- Women are more susceptible to be attacked by the molesters while they are out for defecation
- There is no privacy for girls who reach puberty, this further affects their health
To sum it up, we can say that sanitation is not just one problem rather, it’s a summation of many issues. This is a social problem that needs to be taken up seriously by both, the government and citizens.