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Sanitation Vulnerability: Women’s Stress and Struggles for violence-free sanitation Seema Kulkarni, SOPPECOM, Pune, India Kathleen O’Reilly, Texas A&M.

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Presentation on theme: "Sanitation Vulnerability: Women’s Stress and Struggles for violence-free sanitation Seema Kulkarni, SOPPECOM, Pune, India Kathleen O’Reilly, Texas A&M."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sanitation Vulnerability: Women’s Stress and Struggles for violence-free sanitation Seema Kulkarni, SOPPECOM, Pune, India Kathleen O’Reilly, Texas A&M University, USA International Sanitation and Gender Workshop Park Hotel, New Delhi, India 9-10 December 2013

2 Study Objectives Investigate urban women’s experiences of psycho-social stress due to sanitation-related violence. Explore women and their families’ responses and solutions to sanitation-related violence.

3 Relevance Number of urban dwellers without sanitation going up 60% shared toilet users urban Shared sanitation may not be hygienic or safe – May force women inadvertently to resort to OD because shared toilets are unacceptable Cleanliness Accessibility

4 Relevance Women and lack of acceptable sanitation: – Privacy – Dignity – Physical insecurity and vulnerability – Psycho-social stress: fear, hazards, risk shame time/travel/opportunity bodily discipline

5 Specific goals Assess the number of women in the study areas who: a) have experienced violence; b) fear violence Count and evaluate water and sanitation facilities in the study areas Understand the nature of san-related violence and assess its differential impacts on socially and geographically diverse groups of women Evaluate the role of women in decision-making and implementing sanitation initiatives

6 Methods Kerala: – Interviews with women who participated in the successful struggle to overcome violence Maharashtra and Rajasthan: – Group discussions for the purpose of introduction, household level socio-economic data collection, and neighborhood water and sanitation access information – Detailed narratives with 50 women about their (and their families’) experiences and responses to violence – Create maps using GIS to locate water and sanitation facilities and link them with sites of san-related violence

7 Contributions 1.Complement existing research on motivations to use or not use urban toilets 2.Understand women’s struggles to solve sanitation vulnerability 3.Provide policy suggestions to problems of urban sanitation and shared toilets 4.Connect water access and access to safe sanitation for women

8 Is it a given that women need to enter dangerous spaces for defecation daily – New toilet block is one thing; but accessible, clean, creep magnet What are the psycho-social stresses: hazards, risks, shame, ?? Travel in groups discipi;line the body

9 Selection of slums In consultation with partner NGOs (who would help to initiate the study and will take it forward later) Slums with open defecation, access to public toilets, partial access to private toilets 5 slums selected so far, 1/2 more would be identified soon

10 Selected slums SlumLocationMain drinking water source Availability of sanitation facility Ganesh Nagar On a hillock, Irrigation dept land, adjacent to canal, close to high way TankerOpen defecation Rajiv Gandhi Nagar Oh hillside, private landPrivate taps/public taps Open defecation/private toilets Samartha Nagar On hilltop, forest department land Private tapsOpen defecation/private toilets Laxmi Nagar On hillsidePrivate taps/public taps Open defecation/public toilets Ambedkar Nagar Middle of the cityPrivate tapsOpen defecation/public toilets

11 Work done so far VastiNo of FGDs No of interviews GIS based mapping Ganesh Nagar 19Yes Rajiv Gandhi Nagar 24Yes Samartha Nagar16Yes Laxmi Nagar13 Ambedkar Nagar24 Total726

12 Sample map: toilet availability in Rajiv Gandhi Nagar

13 Preliminary observations: factors that would affect experiences of harassment Sanitation facility: open defecation sites are more vulnerable than public toilets Slum location: accessibility to open defecation site for outsiders Age: More reporting of harassment by young women Caste: Occupation:

14 Preliminary observations: cases of harassment Ogling Passing comments Making inappropriate gestures Taking photos with mobile phone Writing vulgar things and drawing pictures inside public toilets Snatching chain by threatening Attempt to sexual violence

15 Women say... "At times I have to wait for hours to be able to defecate. Young men sit on the water tank nearby, the whole day and watch women who come for defecation. I often get a stomach ache having to wait like this but there is no other option." “Once when I had gone to defecate in the open, during my pregnancy, I suddenly felt some movement behind me. When I turned I saw a man hiding there. I was scared, and I ran. After the incident, I could never go there alone.

16 Preliminary observations: stresses due to lack of sanitation facility Constant fear of encountering sexual violence (especially in case of open defecation) Fear for young daughters More problems during menstruation, pregnancy and post-delivery period Fear of snakes and insects Embarrassment at being watched

17 Women say.... ‘We have to keep looking in every direction for the passersby. Whenever we see someone approaching, we have to stand up, and then sit again when they are gone.’ ‘Imagine someone you know watching you in such situation. If a male acquaintance sees you, it is so embarrassing when you meet him the next time.’

18 Preliminary observations: issues of public toilets No cases of violence reported so far Available toilets are inadequate for using population Lack of maintenance, unclean In some cases closed at night Time consuming In some cases maintenance fees are expensive

19 Preliminary observations: women’s coping mechanisms Choosing times to go for defecation when there is least possibility of being watched Going in pairs/groups Avoid going at night Immediately taking medications for upset stomach Eating less/less spicy food Sending their young daughters to stay with relatives

20 Women say... ‘We are always eagerly waiting for the evening, because that means we can go to urinate/defecate, without the fear of being watched.’ ‘I carry stones in my saree when I go for defecation, and if I see a man approaching, I throw it at him.’


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