Women’s entry into these jobs is compelled by the need to supplement or replace spousal income.

Supplement husband’s income:

Women’s entry into job is compelled by the need to supplement SW husband’s income, where husband is also a sanitation worker.

  • In our interviews with women working as CT cleaners, school toilet cleaners, their husbands were involved in sewer work, septic tank cleaning and drain cleaning.

Sole-earners of the family:

Many women workers have become sole earners of their family after having lost their husbands to traumatic incidents such as suicide or alcoholism.

  • Health experts state that the life expectancy of sewerage workers is ten years less than the national average due to health effects of the job and substance abuse (drinking) required to carry out the job.

There is a need to provide counselling (vocational and emotional) to women and access to collective employment groups; workplace policies to help women balance childcare and domestic work.

This insight applies to 4 types of unsafe sanitation work:

What this entails: Cleaning faecal matter from railway tracks and platforms,railway toilets and platform toilets

Frequency: several times a day

Location: Rail network and railway stations

What this entails: Emptying of dry/single-pit latrines primarily in rural areas; daily collection and transport/emptying of fecal matter

LocationPrimarily rural

What this entails: Operating and maintaining school toilets on a daily basis

LocationSchools – rural and urban

What this entails: Cleaning open drains and road sweeping, often encountering fecal matter due to open defecation and insanitary latrines connected to drains

LocationUrban – drains alongside roads

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