NCW directs for ‘female sanitation audits’
on appeal of Mission Bhartiyam
*Survey in some reputed colleges of Delhi has shown unavailability of adequate washrooms, sanitary napkins and medicines related to menstruation.
*Lack of sanitation facilities and sanitary napking vending machines are directly linked with turn out of girls in schools and therefore necessary as a right.
*NCW writes to all Chief Secretaries of States, Lt Governor of Delhi and concerned Ministries (Health, Education and Drinking water) to take action through audits
New Delhi: On the appeal of Devika Mittal, a core member of youth organisation Mission Bhartiyam, National Commission of Women (NCW) has written to the Secretary, Sanitation cell, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Govt of India:
*To get a survey-cum-audit done of female toilets of all schools/colleges/railway stations/bus terminals to ascertain not only the level of availability but the level of hygiene and functionality of the toilets
*To take suitable measures to install vending machines for sanitary napkins in schools and colleges
In his letter to Ministry of Women and Child Welfare, commission also stated that it had registered the case no 8/18773/2014/NCW/LS/KB and forwarded for further actions. However, commission told that as the matter is of public convenience, hygiene and health and dignity of girls and women, the suggestions of Devika Mittal had been also forwarded to Lt. Governor of Delhi, Department of Health and Family Welfare and Department of Higher Education (Ministry of Human Resources Development), Department of School Education & Literacy (Ministry of Human Resources Development) and chief secretaries of all the states of India.
On behalf of Mission Bhartiyam, Devika Mittal had appealed to the National Commission for Women to look into the sanitation facilities available for women. This appeal was filed by Devika on the basis of a survey conducted amongst students of different colleges in Delhi and NCR, Devika Mittal had found that the sanitation facilities for female students was not satisfactory.
In her survey conducted among female students of renowned colleges and universities including Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University colleges, JNU, South Asian University and Ambedkar University, she found that:
-In all colleges, there were problems related to basic facilities. The problems ranged from not having adequate no. of washrooms to being extremely dirty.
-Colleges, especially co-ed institutions, did not have sanitary napkin vending machine.
-In those colleges that had the machine, the participants reported that there were problems with the maintenance and regular re-fill.
-Through her survey, she had also inquired about the availability of medicines for menstrual cramps. Most of the respondents, especially from co-ed institutions, stated that they were not available,
Through her survey, she had also inquired about the importance of having a sanitary napkin vending machine. All the respondents considered it to be important.
Menstruation is part of a female body. It is a natural phenomenon that occurs every month. During menstruation, women also lose out on vital vitamins. It not only involves secretion of blood but for most women, it involves other kinds of pain and uncomfort. While unlike other social institutions, the educational institutions may not be ridiculing it, the lack of basic sanitation facilities is also a form of taboo. It conveys insensitivity.
Devika Mittal of Mission Bhartiyam had written to NCW about the same. She had shared the survey result, raised the concern for basic sanitation facilities and appealed NCW to issue directions for all educational institutions to install a vending machine in girls’ washrooms in all colleges across the country.
Please find enclosed one of the letters issued by NCW. The letter stating that NCW had directed has also been enclosed (NCW had claimed to have sent the letter in September but it has been received by the complainant only on re-appeal/complaint in November).
Mission Bhartiyam will take up the matter for follow up and will meet with concerned officials at Ministries and department. It will start a signature appeal among girls students and will hand it over to Ministries. Mission Bhartiyam along with other organisations or government may move further to ensure the rights of sanitation and hygiene.
We consider this to be an extremely important and basic issue concerning women. Today, the political leaders are propogating the vision for “Swachh Bharat” but it has no meaning unless we realise it at the most basic level. Swachh Bharat is not just a duty, but also a right for all and this right consists of having basic sanitation facilities.
For further information, contact 9582129927 (Devika Mittal)
Press Release issued by