Woman battles open defecation in Toilet: Ek Prem Katha. Here’s the reality

The woman’s revolt leads to social change but women do not appear to be a position to rebel in India

 

Akshay Kumar’s movie Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (A love story), releasing on August 11, 2017 tells the story of a young bride who walks out of her marriage when discovers that her in-law’s home does not have a toilet. The satire deals with open defecation and Kumar calls it his “contribution” to the Swachh Bharat Mission spearheaded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The prime minister responded with words of appreciation for the film.

In the film, the young woman’s revolt leads to social change, but in real India, women do not appear to be a position to rebel–even if they are educated.

Women have limited decision-making powers in the construction of toilets in homes, according to a 2016 study conducted in Puri, a coastal Odisha district, by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Women and girls are most vulnerable to problems associated with open defecation.

In 80% of households, decisions on the construction of sanitation facilities were made exclusively by men, the study found. In 11%, the decision was made by men in consultation with their wives, and in no more than 9% was the decision made by women.

These findings are relevant because only 37% of households in Puri district have improved sanitation, according to the National Family Health Survey 2015-16 (NFHS-4). However, this is higher than rural Odisha’s average of 23% and state average of 29.4% of households with toilets. Read more

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