Ufaq Fatima

Lack of washrooms at work places trouble working women

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SRINAGAR: Most of the government sectors in Valley give a tough time to their female employees because of the lack of separate toilet facilities at the working places. Even if in some sectors, where separate toilets are available, are often unhygienic and lack basic facilities.

Shazia Ayoob is an employee at the education department in Kulgam district. Her each working day begins with the stress of having no toilet facilities at her office at all.

“As soon as I start my day the anxiety of not being able to pee engulfs me. We do not have any sort of toilet facilities in our department. Having a separate one for women is out of the question. I often use public toilet which is at a distance from office,” Shazia says.

“Like many other luxuries provided by the society to men, peeing in open is one of them. But women do not have that option. Holding urine in the bladder for longer can cause many health adversaries. It puts one on the risk of getting urinary tract infection (UTI),” she adds.

Another employee of Mini secretariat of Bandipora district says the toilets they have in their office are totally unhygienic and not fit for use.

“We have two washrooms in our office but I never use any because they stink badly and are too dirty to use. I prefer to wait and till I am back home,” she says adding the almost entire Mini secretariat offices face a similar problem.

The same scenario of having no proper facilities for urination continues in the government schools too. In Kashmir, government schools often lack toilet facilities which not only add to the inconvenience of the female staff but also to the female students.

Talking to the ‘Kashmir Images’, Mehbooba, a government teacher at a middle school located in Khandoora Achabal area of district Anantnag while expressing her concern and anguish regarding the toilet facilities at government schools says it is the grave problem that bothers both female staff and students.

“We have three washrooms in total. Two for students and one for staff but all are in such a bad condition that one cannot even think of using them. Besides this, we have female students who go through the puberty stage and need clean and proper toilet facilities,” she says.

She further adds that a separate toilet was constructed for female staff a few years back which is far from school and is totally inaccessible.

“Here basic maintenance of toilet is entirely absent not to talk about separate washrooms for women and other facilities. The facilities we have in overall government school often have no dustbins for sanitary pads disposal, no water, and no privacy,” she further adds.

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