Tag Archives: gender

Why Invisible Power and Structural Violence Persist in the Water Domain

Why Invisible Power and Structural Violence Persist in the Water Domain. IDS Bulletin, Home > Vol 47, No 5 (2016)

Author: Lyla Mehta

This article argues that inequality in access to water and sanitation is largely caused and legitimised by different forms of invisible power that prevent universal access. It shows how invisible power combined with structural violence and experiences of unequal citizenship result in dismal access to water that cause systematic harm to poor and marginalised women and men.

The article also argues that invisible power and other forms of power imbalance have ended up naturalising water inequalities around the world. While the inalienable universality of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their focus on inequality must be celebrated, unless the power imbalances that perpetuate inequality are tackled head on by both policymakers and activists, the SDGs will not achieve social justice.

It is thus important for both the sufferers of water injustices as well as water justice advocates to challenge structural violence and invisible power in the water domain.

 

Higher incidents of rape in India linked to open defecation

Higher incidents of rape in India linked to open defecation: Study. Indian Express, December 15, 2016.

According to the study, women who use open defecation sites are twice as likely to get raped compared to women using a home toilet. 

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The researchers looked at the latest Indian National Family Health Survey data and analysed a nationally representative sample of 75,000 women to answer questions about access to a home toilet and their exposure to different types of violence.

Women in India who use open defecation are prone to sexual violence and infrastructure improvements can provide them with some level of protection, a US university researcher has said. “Open defecation places women at uniquely higher risk of one type of sexual violence: non-partner,” says Approva Jadhav from the University of Michigan in a research paper published in the latest issue of Bio-Med Central Journal.

“Women who use open defecation sites like open fields or the side of a railway track are twice as likely to get raped when compared with women using a home toilet,” the study says. The research results, which suggest that women who use open defecation have twice the odds of non-partner sexual violence (NPSV) than women who use household toilets, indicate that infrastructure improvements can provide women with some level of protection against NPSV, it says.

“Our findings provide further rationale for NGOs and the Indian government to expand sanitation programmes, and raise new questions about the potentially protective role of sanitation facilities in other contexts beyond India,” the paper says.

Read the complete article.

Household sanitation facilities and women’s risk of non-partner sexual violence in India

Household sanitation facilities and women’s risk of non-partner sexual violence in IndiaBMC Public Health, November 2016.

Background – Globally, one in ten individuals practice open defecation. Despite media speculation that it increases women’s risk of sexual violence, little empirical evidence supports the claims. We investigate the relationship between household sanitation facilities and women’s risk of non-partner sexual violence (NPSV) in India, where nearly half of the population lives without a pit or toilet.

Methods – We use the most recent NPSV data, from the National Family Health Survey-III, to estimate logistic regression models of the effects of household sanitation facilities (toilet, pit, or none) on NPSV in the last year among women who have resided in their current home for one year or more. These effects are estimated net of other socioeconomic factors, compared to effects of household sanitation facilities on child diarrhea, and, as a falsification test, compared to effects of household sanitation facilities on intimate partner sexual violence (IPSV) in the last year.

Results – Net of their socioeconomic status, women who use open defecation are twice as likely to face NPSV as women with a household toilet. This is twice the association between open defecation and child diarrhea. The results of our falsification test indicate that open defecation is not correlated with IPSV, thus disconfirming a simultaneous selection of women into open defecation and sexual violence.

Conclusions
Our findings provide empirical evidence that lacking household sanitation is associated with higher risk of NPSV.

Read also the related press release “Lack of sanitation facilities linked to higher rape incidents in India“, 14 Dece 2016

The Perils of Writing about Toilets in India

The Perils of Writing about Toilets in India. IPSNews, November 6, 2016.

Journalist Stella Paul was midway through an interview about toilets when she found herself, and the women she was speaking to, under attack from four angry men.

“This man, he comes and he just grabs this woman by her hair and he starts dragging her on the ground and kicking her at the same time,” Paul told IPS.

She remembers thinking, “what is happening,” as another three men followed, beating the women, including Paul who was hit in the face.

“They are blindly just beating this woman.”

“Why? Because how dare you talk about getting a toilet when you are untouchable, you are Dalit.”

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Paul interviews Dalit women in Hamirpur – a district in Northern India. All of these women have been abandoned by their husbands who fled to escape drought. Credit: Stella Paul / IPS.

The attack took place while Paul – a 2016 recipient of the International Women’s Media Foundation Courage in Journalism Award and IPS contributor – was researching a story about women forced into dual slavery in illegal mines in South-East, India.

The women Paul was interviewing had been forced to work unpaid in the mines, but were trying to escape, some of them were attending school, and they had now found out they were potentially going to have their own toilet under a government sanitation scheme.

Read the complete article.

Understanding women’s decision making power and its link to improved household sanitation: the case of Kenya

Understanding women’s decision making power and its link to improved household sanitation: the case of Kenya. Jnl Wat San Hyg for Dev, Feb. 2016.

Authors: Mitsuaki Hirai, Jay P. Graham, John Sandberg

Women experience many motivational drivers for improving sanitation, but it is unclear how women’s role in household decision making affects whether a household opts for better sanitation. We analyzed the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2008/2009 with a representative sample of 4,556 married and cohabiting women to examine the association between women’s decision making power in relation to that of partners and the type of sanitation facilities used by household members.

The independent effects of respondents’ education, employment status, and socioeconomic status on the type of sanitation facilities were also explored. The direct measurement of women’s ability to influence sanitation practice was not available. To address this problem, this study used proxy measures of women’s decision making power in the household.

The results of this study revealed that women’s decision making power for major household purchases was positively associated with households having better sanitation (p < 0.05). The findings suggest that increased gender equity could potentially have spillover effects that result in more households opting to improve their sanitation conditions.

 

Tackling the Taboo of Menstruation

In connection with last week’s WSSCC-UN Women side event on the Commission on the Status of Women, WSSCC Executive Director published a new blog on the Huffington Post. It begins:

“In 1995, global rights activists sent a powerful message about the urgent need for gender equality in political, civic, economic, cultural and social life. Two decades later, women and girls have made powerful strides in closing the gender gap.”

Read the full article at:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-w-williams/tackling-the-taboo-of-men_b_6866158.html

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Yes, hygiene and school enrolment are directly proportional

In Bangladesh, the lack of separate latrines for girls and menstrual hygiene facilities in secondary schools are major factors in the disproportionate rate of absence and dropout of adolescent girls.

Sabrina Shaidullah Sabrina Shahidullah

A study undertaken in Bangladesh revealed an 11 per cent increase in girls’ enrolment mainly due to the provision of sanitary toilets.” –Technical paper series/IRC

In Bangladesh the standard number of toilets in schools has been set as a minimum of one toilet for every 60 students. However, this is far from being achieved. The infographic below shows that on average, schools in Bangladesh have half the number of toilets required. However, although 94 per cent of schools have latrines within the compound, a large number remain unusable because they are dirty or broken.

BRAC WASH School Sanitation graph

Source: UNICEF WASH for school children South Asia Report, 2012

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