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No relief: lived experiences of inadequate sanitation access of poor urban women in India

No relief: lived experiences of inadequate sanitation access of poor urban women in India
16 pages

Authors
Kulkarni, Seema
O'Reilly, Kathleen
Bhat, Sneha

Editors
Sweetman, Caroline
Journal
Gender & Development Volume 25 Issue 2 Water, sanitation and hygiene

Publication date
13 Jul 2017

DOI
10.1080/13552074.2017.1331531

Publisher
Oxfam GB
Routledge

Type
Journal article

The provision of sanitation in India has attracted much attention, but research and policies focusing on gender in relation to sanitation often fail to focus on sanitation-related violence against women (VAW). This article focuses on research in Pune (in Maharashtra) and Jaipur (in Rajasthan). It offers evidence of slum-dwelling women’s experiences of harassment and violence related to poor or absent sanitation facilities. In addition, it explores the strategies that women adopt to minimise risk and stress. Sanitation-related violence shows the connections between slum geographies and unequal intra-slum relationships of gender, caste, and economic and marital status, and the types of sanitation facilities available. These different identities shape women’s experiences of VAW and they commonly blame men from ‘outside’ or ‘other’ groups, affecting their ability to act as a united group against violence. While sanitation is inadequate and inappropriate for women’s needs across castes, community cohesion and the chances of collective action and advocacy to address sanitation needs are also compromised by tensions between groups in the slum.

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