Indian women hard-pressed to relieve themselves

September 30, 2011

For an Indian man, the entire country is one easy-access urinal. Be it mustard fields, the national highway or the Himalayan foothills — unzipping, unleashing and relieving comes naturally to them. Indian women, unfortunately, do not enjoy the same privilege. For them, infinite patience is a survival skill and a big bladder a necessity.

Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan seems to empathise with the pain of the Indian woman. He wants to “dedicate” his life to building public utilities for women across India. “I want dignity and respect to be brought to women,” he said at an event in Mumbai.

It is a shame that the government has still not woken up to this disparity in India’s infrastructure. Be it urban areas or villages, clean public toilets for women remain an alien concept in India.

A not-for-profit organisation, Sulabh International, has tried to address this gap by “providing affordable sanitary facilities to masses throughout the country”. But more needs to be done.

Suitable toilets is not just a matter of convenience, but also integral to the economic growth of the country. A World Bank report last year estimated that poor toilets and lack of hygiene cost India, Asia’s third-largest economy, nearly $54 billion every year.

A further $10.7 million is lost in “access time,” the report said — time spent looking to access a shared toilet or open defecation site compared to having a toilet in one’s own home.

Nearly 36 percent of schools in Maharashtra do not have separate toilets for girl students — forcing them to drop out of the education system early in life.

Perhaps it is time that the powers that be follow in Shah Rukh Khan’s footsteps.

4 comments

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Thanks ,Its a great move . there is a dire need of “womens toilets ” every cities and villages in india. politicians and administration is less interested on this isssue.
Thanks Shah Rukh.
Rajratna Phadtare

Posted by rajratna | Report as abusive

why not local disti=rict head of each village build couple of toilets for ladies,and charge Rs 2 per usage this will bringunemployment plus facilty for women

Posted by Jackiemircha | Report as abusive

This is the pity in India as spend lakhs of crores of rupees on various developmental activities but it actually doesnt reach to the people in need.

And never they had serious thought of providing basic amenities to both women and children either in schools or in public places.

Eventhough there are lot of social service organisation are working various aspects to improve the basic amenities of the people but as the country is such a big that no one or two organisations can reach their objectives. Hence there should be a revolution from the civil society to get the basic amenities, then only it is likely to be possible.

Posted by gopalakrishna | Report as abusive

Indian Govt and State Govt started to build public restrooms in the past. But eventually it becomes very unhygenic without running water and proper maintenance. Better approach would be to have a manadatory clause to build and maintain restrooms for public outside of the building in the license for Gas stations / restraunt chains etc.

In US, we have restrooms in every small shops and chains. But when we travel in freeways, we always stop at gas stations and rest assured that restrooms are available.

Posted by Dan1973 | Report as abusive