In October 2014 I went for a rural camp visit to Kadarganj village where I had seen the problems of women without toilets in their houses. It was more a problem for the women folk than their male counterparts because they had no private place to change during menstruation cycles. It was an irony that if women were seen defecating in open it was considered a shame but they were not considering building a toilet. As a result they either had to go before the sun rises that is around 4 in the morning or had to wait till it gets dark. This resulted in health issues in women as controlling for so long has its harmful implications. The women also shared how difficult it is when they are pregnant and still have to walk so far to make sure they are not seen by men while defecating. While interacting with both men and women on the issues they face in their daily lives, almost every woman’s concern was absence of toilet in their houses. Men on the other hand had other set of priorities.
In order to avoid the need of going to the loo, the women told me that they avoid drinking too much of water and other liquid stuffs during the day. If they feel very thirsty that they cannot control, only then they drink little water. So the days go by without proper intake of water. In the long run, women face severe health problems because of this. But they feel helpless and cannot do anything about it. As the women have no decision-making power, they cannot tell their fathers or husbands to build a toilet.
Kunzes Wangmo is a Senior Care Counselor at Samvedna Senior Care, New Delhi.
- Kunzes Wangmo, Kadargunj, Uttar Pradesh Nov 17, 2015