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90 per cent women afraid of using public wash rooms in India: Survey

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The survey highlights that millennials are not ready to compromise when it comes to feminine hygiene and safety

A new survey asked Indian women about the risk of using public wash rooms and the findings are disturbing. 90 per cent of women state that the public wash rooms in the outdoor environment be it workplace, shopping malls or hotels are not clean and suitable to use in the country, a survey by women empowerment organisation Pinkishe and a feminine hygiene company Sanfe has revealed. While we are very close towards achieving the prestigious goal of open defecation free India, the poor state of public toilets and women hygiene still remains a big challenge.

The survey report titled  ‘Say no to dirty toilets’ against dirty public wash rooms  covered about 20,000 women between the age group of 18-50 years spread through social media sites, WhatsApp and email across  Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Lucknow, Chennai, Pune, Patna and Kolkata.  Most of the travellers and shoppers admitted that holding urine is the only alternative for using dirty toilets followed with pee in semi-squat position and wiping dirty toilets. The survey highlights that millennials are not ready to compromise when it comes to feminine hygiene and safety. Smaller cities are aware about the grievances of UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) and are concerned about the state of public wash rooms in their respective regions.

Women use alternatives to tackle the issue which can have future implications on health. Holding urine for a long period can cause kidney stones, weaken bladder muscles and other severe kidney disorders. Semi-squatting leads to prolonged pain in joint and pelvic muscles. These alternatives become a nightmare for women especially for old age. It is high time for the nation to address the poor state of women hygiene in public toilets.

Unhygienic menstruation practices and dirty wash rooms  are key triggers of urinary tract infections.  65.2 per cent of our women respondents revealed the risk of urinary tract infection associated with dirty public toilets. The time demands for high decibel awareness around the issue. We need to empower women by motivating them to stand up against using dirty public wash rooms.

Majority of working women find their health and hygiene at risk while using public toilets. Women already have the strong preconceived notion about public toilets as 51.3 per cent considered restrooms as dirty, 40.8 per cent considered as less clean and only 8 per cent as clean. Respondents were also aware of the infections caused by dirty public wash rooms. This can be because of the increased awareness or their bad experience of suffering infections sometime in their life.

The survey also highlights the magnitude of the issue and the grave need for innovative and affordable solutions for clean wash rooms. As per the report, 26 per cent of women are willing to stand and pee by changing their conventional way of urinating which can reduce the chances of UTI significantly because of elimination of physical contact with the dirty toilet seats. These solutions can help in increasing the number of safe visits to public wash rooms and decrease the number of visits to gynaecologists.

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