Accessible toilets on list as girls from Mumbai slums release charter of demands

MUMBAI : Adolescent and young girls from 10 wards of the city on Friday come up with their own charter of demands in the poll season, seeking accessible toilets, safer public spaces and more newspaper stands in slums.

The Girls’ Charter of Demands, spearheaded by seven organisations under the banner of Adolescent Girls Learning Community, encourages girls to hold meetings with corporators, assembly representatives and government officials to discuss their demands. The demands included ensuring community toilets are safe for use even at night and providing sufficient security in public places.

In 2018, 1,140 girls aged 10 to 25 were surveyed in 10 wards of Mumbai. The survey showed that over 70 per cent girls in slums cannot access nearby public places because these spaces are dominated by men. At least 86 per cent complained of having no newspaper stand in their locality. Another 85 per cent complained of having no toilet in their house.

Of the total surveyed, 69 per cent felt community toilets were unsafe and 40 per cent said the community toilets were found shut at night. Unlit toilets, boys lurking around, past instances of sexual assault and distance of toilets from their homes were most common reasons of why girls felt community toilets were unsafe.

Many also complained of health problems in absence of timely access to toilets. They claimed the average wait time was five minutes or more.