Things you didn't realise about women's lives in 3rd world countries

(60 Posts)
kim147 Sat 28-Jun-14 13:20:09

I hesitate to describe India as a 3rd world country but this article really surprised me.

Many villages in rural India have no toilets so people defecate in fields. Women and girls go in pairs, often at night for safety. It just sounds awful. The girls who were recently raped and hung were going to the toilet.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-28039513

Just so much going on in women's lives in other countries.

eightyearsonhere Sat 28-Jun-14 13:26:46

Yes it sounds awful to us, but the notion of defecating indoors sounds awful to them.

Beware looking at other cultures with such simplistic eyes.

The problem is hardly a lack of toilets.

Ifpigscouldfly Sat 28-Jun-14 13:27:55

I was just thinking of that article when I saw the title. sad so awful.

kim147 Sat 28-Jun-14 13:30:17

eightyears

That's not the issue - it's what can happen when they go to the toilet.

Ifpigscouldfly Sat 28-Jun-14 13:32:50

They don't want to walk miles twice a day hmm they just don't want to be assaulted.

Meglet Sat 28-Jun-14 13:38:09

yes, I've heard that before. Also increased bowel problems because they wait until the end of the day (I read that somewhere).

Most of them don't have sanitary protection either. There's that chap who invented a machine for them to make their own so they don't have to hide away when menstruating.

Inthedarkaboutfashion Sat 28-Jun-14 13:42:07

The problem isn't with the fact that they don't have toilets indoors, the problem is the mindset of some of the country's male population who think that they can rape and murder women if they want.
There have been many high profile rape cases in India and not many of them involve toileting in the fields. The woman who was gang raped on a bus and then left for dead is the one that springs to my mind.
Some travellers in this country defecate in fields (the ones who actually travel) because the only other option would be to defecate in their small caravans and they don't consider that to be hygienic but we don't her of them living in fear when they go out to defecate.
The problem is that women in India are often seen as third rate citizens who are just commodities for men.

juneau Sat 28-Jun-14 13:45:26

Yes it sounds awful to us, but the notion of defecating indoors sounds awful to them. The problem is hardly a lack of toilets.

So you think they ENJOY having to go and pee and poo in a field, with the risk of rape every time they do it?

I think you'll find that most people who don't have indoor sanitation would dearly love to have it, if it was available to them. Lack of safe drinking water and lack of proper sanitation go hand in hand. You defecate in a field, it gets on your food and into your water supply. That's why diseases like cholera are endemic in India. Your opinions are uninformed and, quite frankly, rather offensive.

Ifpigscouldfly Sat 28-Jun-14 13:46:01

I'm pretty sure those 2 girls that were raped and hanged last week were going or had been to the toilet. It says so in the article linked to in the OP.

That's not to say I disagree with your overall pointinthe

Inthedarkaboutfashion Sat 28-Jun-14 13:47:45

You defecate in a field, it gets on your food and into your water supply. That's why diseases like cholera are endemic in India.

You do realise that animals have been shitting in fields for years in every country?

Inthedarkaboutfashion Sat 28-Jun-14 13:51:57

If pugs could fly: I understand that going to the toilet presents a risk to these women and their safety. I think it is appalling that a woman can't go to the toilet without fear of something terrible happening. However, I think the issue is much larger than not having indoor toilets. If every Indian woman was able to go to the toilet indoors I feel that the same level of rapes would exist, they would simply exist in different circumstances.
A man who does not value a woman and feels that it is his right to rape or murder her will find an opportunity to do so. I don't know what the answer is because I the changing such things when it is so ingrained is an enormous and difficult, if not almost impossible, task.

VenusDeWillendorf Sat 28-Jun-14 13:59:30

Most girls give up going to school, as they don't have San pro and if they do there's nowhere to dispose of it.
If they use rags, there is no where to wash them, and no water to do it.

A huge proportion of girls and women have undergone genital cutting, over 50% in Egypt for eg, which means their menstrual blood pools in their womb and vagina, unable to get out except through an opening the size of a match head.
It's why these women and girls frequently suffer from bladder infections as well, as they have to pee, drop by drop.

From the WHO study of female genital cutting in Egypt

Results of that WHO survey

The total number of females interviewed was 38 816. The prevalence of FGC among schoolgirls was 50.3%. The prevalence of FGC was 46.2% in government urban schools, 9.2% in private urban schools and 61.7% in rural schools. Educational levels of mother and father were negatively associated with FGC (P < 0.001). The mean age of the time of FGC was 10.1 ± 2.3 years.

Of course this doesn't just happen in the third world, (whatever that is), but happens in the UK.

From a report by the NSPCC

How prevalent is FGM in the UK?
FGM is usually carried out on girls between infancy and 15 years of age, with the majority of cases occurring between the 5 and 8 years of age (HM Government, 2011). Because of the hidden nature of the crime, it is difficult to estimate FGM's prevalence, but a study based on 2001 census data in England and Wales estimated that 23,000 girls under the age of 15 years could be at risk of FGM each year and nearly 66,000 women are living with its consequences (Dorkenoo et al, 2007). FGM could be even more prevalent than these figures suggest due to population growth and immigration from practising countries since 2001 (HM Government, 2011).

Who practises FGM?
FGM is practised in at least 28 African countries, as well as countries in the Middle East and Asia (House of Commons International Development Committee, 2013). In the UK, FGM tends to occur in areas with large populations of FGM practising communities. These areas include London, Cardiff, Manchester, Sheffield, Northampton, Birmingham, Oxford, Crawley, Reading, Slough and Milton Keynes. However, FGM can happen anywhere in the UK (NHS Choices, 2013).

I'm not sure it's helpful to talk about first world and third world, or second world any more.

We all live on the one planet, and each of us have the same human rights with every other person on this planet.

Ifpigscouldfly Sat 28-Jun-14 14:01:13

Now I'm with you. I'm not sure. It might prevents an opportunity if women are in their own homes rather Than alone far from help but I don't know if it would change anything over all due to as you say the way women are viewed.

Jinsei Sat 28-Jun-14 14:09:44

Yes it sounds awful to us, but the notion of defecating indoors sounds awful to them.

Beware looking at other cultures with such simplistic eyes.

The problem is hardly a lack of toilets.

I totally agree with you about not looking at other cultures with simplistic eyes. Our idea of what's "necessary" is often very different from what might be considered necessary elsewhere.

BUT, actually, the problem is partly a lack of toilets. This is a major issue for many women in rural parts of India, and it needs to be addressed. For the most part, they don't want to go out to the fields and this isn't just because of the problems with harassment, sexual assault or worse.

My in-laws live in an Indian village, and had to go to the toilet in the fields until my DH installed toilets in their homes. It has been a huge relief for them, as has the installation of hand pumps so that they can get underground water.

Gender inequality is certainly a massive issue, but there are also real, practical problems that need to be resolved.

kim147 Sat 28-Jun-14 14:23:42

It's the impact this has on women. The article mentioned a school with no toilets. The boys can just wee on a wall but there's no privacy for girls so they don't go during the day.

almondcakes Sat 28-Jun-14 16:15:34

This thread is quite shocking in terms of people makingassertions based on ignorance. They don't need toilets, human excrement no bigger health issue than animals etc etc.

Please, please go and look at Water Aid's website, or watch you tube videos about Dalit women, or all the females responsible for clearing excrement in areas without proper toilets who die from infectious diseases.

This is such a major global women's rights issue. It really is one of the most important ones that could change women's lives.

Please support Water Aid.

I'm sorry I can't supply links, am on train on phone.

Jinsei Sat 28-Jun-14 16:39:36

www.wateraid.org/uk/what-we-do/the-crisis/sanitation

I second the suggestion to support water aid. If I had to choose only one charity to support on a regular basis, this one would win hands down.

Inthedarkaboutfashion Sat 28-Jun-14 16:41:30

Please, please go and look at Water Aid's website, or watch you tube videos about Dalit women, or all the females responsible for clearing excrement in areas without proper toilets who die from infectious diseases

Having toilets and a sewerage system would not eliminate all of those infectious diseases because people would still have to work in the sewer treatment facilities. A sewer treatment facility in India is not going to have the same health and safety measures in place as a treatment facility here in the UK.
People die in many jobs in India and other developing countries where the chances of those same deaths in the UK are massively reduced.
And I didn't say that human excrement was not a bigger problem than animal excrement. But shit is shit whether it comes from people or animals. I think any type of shit comes with a risk of infection or a possibility of causing water, crop and land contamination. Do you think that human shit is more infectious and more harmful than animal shit?

Jinsei Sat 28-Jun-14 16:47:04

It's true, inthedark, health and safety standards in India are very poor. However, not having access to a toilet is a very basic problem and this should not be dismissed.

Inthedarkaboutfashion Sat 28-Jun-14 16:53:22

I agree that it should not be dismissed but let's also remember that India is not a poverty stricken country. India has a lot of very poor people but the country itself is not poverty stricken. They have a space programme FFS and could afford a decent sanitation system for all of its residents.

sanfairyanne Sat 28-Jun-14 16:58:06

human excrement is surely a bigger health hazard than for example cow dung?
i genuinely thought that was a given
now i am starting to doubt myself
any handy links from sciency people?

Inthedarkaboutfashion Sat 28-Jun-14 17:02:03

Cat shit can be dangerous. I'm quite sure that other animal shit can be dangerous too.

Inthedarkaboutfashion Sat 28-Jun-14 17:03:53

Dog feces are one of the most common carriers of the following diseases:

Heartworms
Whipworms
Hookworms
Roundworms
Tapeworms
Parvo
Corona
Giardiasis
Salmonellosis
Cryptosporidiosis
Campylobacteriosis

Human shit might be more dangerous, I don't really know. But animal shit is certainly hazardous.

sanfairyanne Sat 28-Jun-14 17:04:37

oh yes, i can think of other animals too, dog poo has nasty stuff in, but i was thinking about how people generally use faeces in agriculture
human poo surely carries more risk than say cow or sheep poo?
i thought
as much as i have thought about it smile

sanfairyanne Sat 28-Jun-14 17:04:59

x post

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