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Gendered Disparities in Water and Sanitation through an Intersectional Lens: Emphasising Women’s Perspectives


The relationship between gender and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) has been a widely accepted concern among academicians, activists, and social workers in India, but research and policies focusing on gender and sanitation often fail to address the issue of the intersectionality of identities. Analysing the complex intersection of caste, class, age and gender with water and sanitation in rural India extends new opportunities to explore the complex power dynamics prevalent in society. A focus group study with 54 female participants of seven discussions and in-depth interviews has been conducted in the Hardoi district of Uttar Pradesh to explore the social relations and differences in the physical world within the context of accessibility, affordability, and availability in the water and sanitation sector. Given gendered and other social divisions, we elaborate on how women play an essential role in water and sanitation management in the household. This study also offers evidence of rural women’s experiences of intra-personal, household, and social harassment and violence related to poor or absence of sanitation and water infrastructure due to intersectional social dynamics. We also demonstrate how theorising about a single dimension of social difference ignores the different groups’ access to power, leading to inequality and disparity. 


Water, Sanitation, Intersectionality, Identity, Gender, Caste, Focus Groups, In-depth Interviews, Uttar Pradesh, India



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