20.4            ndian     onom
     offer gender equality and justice, has not been built            to their male counterparts—which compromises
     in a time dimension in the dispensation of justice.              with their fundamental right to privacy. This can
     Further, dependence on schemes and programmes                    take several forms—threat to life and safety while
     with inadequate coverage, outlays, inefficiencies                going out for open defecation, reduction in food
     and leakages in the delivery mechanism, the                      and water intake practices to minimize the need to
     social, economic and legal condition of women                    exit the home to use toilets, polluted water leading
     shows inadequate improvement in terms of several                 to women and children dying from childbirth-
     indicators. We find gender discrimination in India               related infections, among others. Personal hygiene
     at multiple levels—                                              of women is for better health outcomes there is
           (i) right from the womb with sex                           no doubt in it. But it is also needed to enjoy the
                  determination tests and abortion of the             freedom of having control on their bodies—the
                  female foetuses,                                    right to privacy. In absence, it may create ‘gender-
          (ii) discrimination in terms of nutrition                   based sanitation insecurity’.
                  offered to the girl child,                               The Census 2011 reported a widespread lack
        (iii) the length and type of schooling the girl               of sanitation—more than half of the country’s
                  child avails of vis-à-vis her male siblings,        population defecated in the open. Recent data
         (iv) inadequate or lack of access to higher                  shows that about 60 per cent of rural households
                  education,                                          (Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation-2017;
          (v) discrimination in opportunities of                      up from 45 per cent NSS 2015) and 89 per cent
                  employment and wages paid, and                      of urban households (NSSO 2016) have access to
         (vi) unequal share in inheritance.                           toilets—an improved situation over the Census.
           Society and the Government has relied on the               A ‘rapid study’ (by WASH Institute and Sambodhi
     legal route to address each of these discriminations,            in 2016), specially done for the Economic Survey
     without matching changes in the social fabric or                 2016-17 presents some new insight—
     role model set by leaders in society from all spheres.                (i) Some worrisome trends were found for
     The legal route suffers from several shortcomings,                         the majority of households without toilets—
     especially in terms of time taken for dispensation                         76 per cent of women had to travel a
     of justice. For each of the above discrimination,                          considerable distance to use these facilities
     there is a law so all acts of discrimination are illegal,                  while 33 per cent of the women reported
     however, compliance requires a lot more to be done.                        facing privacy concerns and assault while
                                                                                going out in the open. Due to these risks,
     PrivAcy of Women
                                                                                the number of women who reduced
     Women and girls in India carry disproportionate                            consumption of food and water are 33
     burden9 of sanitation deficiencies in comparison                           per cent and 28 per cent, respectively.
        9.    Economic Survey 2016-17 (MoF, GoI, N. Delhi, Vol.                 While in short-term it creates problems
              1, pp. 27-30). The Economic Survey, for the last two              like illness, disruptions, and deficiencies;
              years, featured very useful analyses on “women issues”.           in the long-term it compromises with
              While in 2014-15 it covered ‘violence against women
              related coercive family planning methods’, in 2015-16             overall health and cognitive development
              it featured the importance of government interventions            of infants and specially girls. Other studies
              to ensure long-term wellbeing of women and child
                                                                                have highlighted the concerns such as
              under the topic ‘mother and child’. Continuing with
              the process, the 2016-17 issue has covered the issue of           exposure to natural elements, snakebites,
              “women’s privacy”.                                                etc. also.