ActionAid India survey highlights concerns that women encounter in accessing public toilets in the national capital city of Delhi
March 21, 2017
More than one in every three public toilets in Delhi do not have separate provision for women, according to an ActionAid India survey of public toilets in the national capital city.
The survey carried out in December last year under the Peoples’ Vision of the City (PVoC) campaign found that nearly 35 per cent of surveyed public toilets in the city did not have separate sections for women. A total of 229 toilets maintained by the three Municipality Corporations of Delhi (MCD) and New Delhi Municipality Corporation (NDMC) and those outsourced to private agencies were covered during the exercise.
The survey revealed that more than 71% of the toilets physically audited were not cleaned regularly. Cleanliness was also a major issue for toilet users who were interviewed during the process of the survey. Over 72% of the toilets lacked visible signboards, while 76% had no ramp facility and nearly 76% did not have sign boards in Braille language, making it hard for people with disability and elderly to access public toilets.
Another sad finding was the prevalence of manual scavenging practice. This could be inferred from the findings that septic tanks of nearly 38% of the toilets are cleaned manually.
When it comes to women’s toilets, 149 toilets out of the 229 toilets surveyed had some provisions for women but functional issues like cleanliness, lack of hygiene and safety measures were found to be the key concerns.
More than 66% women’s toilets did not have a working flush, while 53% did not have running water facility and over 51% did not have facility to wash hands. About 61% toilets did not have soap to use, which raises a concern regarding quality of public sanitation available for women.
It was also found that 28% toilets did not have doors, while 45% toilets did not have mechanism to lock from inside. Over half of them did not have lights neither inside the toilet nor in outer premises. What adds to safety concerns is that 46% of toilets are unguarded – a condition that shows lack of basic security provisions in the women’s public toilets.
Reflecting on these findings, Sehjo Singh, Director Programme and Policy of ActionAid India said: “This obvious neglect of women’s human rights has gone unnoticed for too long and time has come to make this an important priority for the nation. The Peoples Vision of the City campaign strives to focus attention and deliver on this issue.”
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