Regional Campaign in Mumbai : Right To Pee

The Right to Pee campaign for women emerged out of CORO and Leaders’ Quest’s Grassroots Leadership Development Program which is aimed at building capacities of grassroots leaders to tackle some of the chronic and complex issues that the marginalized communities face. Gender equality and women empowerment is the cross cutting focus in the leadership development program.

Mumbai fellows (potential grassroots leaders) and their organizations in this leadership program collectively resolved to do higher level advocacy for clean, safe, free public urinals for women considering the need and the gendered aspect of the issue.

Involvement of individuals and organizations beyond the grassroots leadership development program made the RTP campaign better conceived, stronger, and more impactful. Over the last 5 years, 33 organisations and individuals in Mumbai have enriched RTP campaign with their participation. It also involves collaboration with different agencies to advocate with government to make policies to ensure women’s easy access to clean and safe urinals and toilets at public places. It also has an awareness-generating aspect that will increase people’s participation in accessing, monitoring and actually creating infrastructure with technological advances and supporting local committees in managing these amenities for safe, gender friendly ,inclusive, competitive city.

Over the last five years the issue raised by RTP has been acknowledged by the state and related authorities. A few milestones achieved through this campaign have been:

MILESTONES

  • For the first time Budgetary provision has been made in the gender budget of BMC of 75 lakhs (2012-13), 1 crore (2013-14) and 5.25 crore (2015-16) .
  • Inclusion of the issue as a special chapter in the State women policy.
  • Formation of collaborative committee by the Municipal Commissioner consisting of 10 members (5 members from RTP and 5 from Solid Waste Management authorities) to review existing sanitation situation in 24 wards of Mumbai and plan further.
  • Collaborative efforts in preparing Guidelines for “Pay and use toilets” and toilet monitoring checklist have been prepared jointly by the committee
  • Mutually accepted design of gender friendly toilets is done in collaboration with BMC officials for future implementation in Mumbai.
  • CORO in collaboration with TISS (Tuljapur) interns have done a detailed survey and analysis of 87 Railway stations (includes 3 Railway lines and Navi Mumbai Line) and have started collaborative discussions with Western Railway authorities for creation of more toilets and access to clean, free, safe urinals for women at Railway stations.
  • Based on our RTP team’s demands, provision for women’s urinals has been included in the RDP (Revision Development Plan of Mumbai 2034) under Public Convenience and 26 locations have been reserved across Mumbai
  • RTP has received huge media attention and many stories and articles have appeared in regional as well English media and television shows. RTP team has been felicitated and given awards like the Mayor’s award, Hirakni Sanman Puraskar and Savitri Sanman Puraskar.

On this backdrop, CORO, with support from UN Women India, organized the first ever National Convention on Women’s Right To Pee at Yashwantrao Chavan Pratishthan, Mumbai on 1st September 2016. Women leaders from political parties, key people from bureaucracy, administrative and implementing authorities, representatives of civil society organizations, women organisations from different parts of India and media representatives attended the conference.

The Convention went through three panel discussions with participation of social activists, media people, political leaders and bureaucrats. In particular, Vidya Chavan from NCP, Shalini Thakarey (MNS), Nilam Gorhe (Shivsena), Shaina NC (BJP) put their party’s perspectives on RTP. Representatives from Western Railways, Municipal Corporation and Urban Planning Department spoke about the measures being taken currently and in the future by each of these stakeholders, for constructing more toilets for women and ensuring gender-friendly design and better maintenance.

The convention was successful in terms of the stakeholder's participation, their acknowledgement of the problems present and in showing their willingness to work together in a collaborative manner. It was also stressed during the convention that similar facilities should be created for physically disabled and trans-genders, thus making RTP a comprehensive campaign catering to the needs of these communities.

Media Coverage of the Convention:

In The Hindu Newspaper & Midday newspaper:

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-mumbai/we-havent-made-enough-toilets-for-women-wr/article9063442.ece

http://m.mid-day.com/articles/his-hers-and-now-theirs-trust-opens-toilet-for-transgenders-in-mumbai/17600178

News telecast on SAAM TV which summarises what each of the panellists spoke about

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMAeprMJdhY&feature=youtu.be