Safe, Affordable and Clean Public Toilets for Women in Hyderabad
This petition had 475 supporters
We are proud citizens of Hyderabad. We share the dream of our city becoming a world class city. We believe that one of the key characteristics of a world class city is that it cares for the health of all of its residents. Making a world class city safe and clean is everyone’s responsibility. But the final responsibility to ensure clean affordable and safe toilets lies squarely with the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). On the occasion of the World Toilet Day, and in the name of the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, we urge you to take this constitutional responsibility seriously.
In the last two years the GHMC has made several announcements about installing new free urinals. Some urinals have already been installed. But to our disappointment, we found them to be all exclusively meant for men. According to an audit carried out by Hyderabad Urban Lab:
- There is a disproportionately low share of public toilets meant for women in Hyderabad. There are 233 toilets for men, for every 100 toilets for women.
- Majority of the toilets for women are poorly maintained
- Womens toilets are often locked or their entrance is obstructed.
- Women’s toilets lack facilities like mugs, buckets and dustbins.
- Many toilet complexes do not have signage on the outside indicating the presence of facilities for women.
- Women’s toilets are unaffordable for the substantial number of women close to the poverty line.
Women are forced to regulate their bodies by severely reducing the intake of water and other liquids. Both these practices can be very harmful to the bodies of women and raise a grave public health concern that exists because of a lack of good facilities. A city like Hyderabad that aspires to become a “world-class city”, cannot continue to neglect the needs of such a large part of its population. Below we list a set of demands. We urge the government to start acting on these steps to alleviate a major public health problem and to address a grave social injustice.
1. Ensure that there are equal number of toilets for men and women and that women’s toilets are specifically designed and maintained for women’s needs.
2. Appoint a taskforce to monitor the upkeep of toilets for women on two grounds: facilities and maintenance.The toilets for women are being neglected, thus, preventing women from using them. In some toilets the entrance to the women’s toilet is completely obstructed by garbage. And in some places, the women’s toilet is being used as a storage room. The task force must ensure that:
- toilets are regularly cleaned.lights in these toilets are functional.
- there is provision of running water and a bucket and mug.
- a dustbin is made available in women’s toilet and is regularly emptied.
- proper signage is placed outside the toilet to provide all necessary information
3. Commission a design solution to ensure that women have free access toilets for urination. For poor working women, paying for urinal use is a huge burden.
4. Please allocate a special toilet fund for operation and maintenance of toilets in the municipal budget. Pay-and-use and advertisement revenue models have resulted in severe distortions in the location of toilets and maintenance as well. These distortions include:
- Toilets are often located strategically to yield revenue from advertisements rather than to serve any public need.
- Salaries for toilet maintenance staff are solely paid from user fees. The upkeep of women’s toilets is solely dependent on the toilet maintainers (mostly men) who are often poor migrants themselves.
The Citizens of Hyderabad
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