Over the years, cities and their spaces have been criticised for lacking gender-sensitive infrastructures. The cityscape needs to be more gender-friendly especially through the establishment of toilets for all genders.
In 2016, entrepreneurs Ulka Sadalkar and Rajeev Kher revamped old run-down buses into hop-on ‘ती: Ti - toilets’ for women in Pune. ती means her in Marathi. Recycling of old PMPML buses gave the Pune Municipal Corporation an idea for this concept. Now, there are over 200 washroom-on-wheels.
These pink coloured toilets provide scientific disposal mechanisms and sanitary pads and diapers to women along with a space to breastfeed babies.
Founder Usha said in an interview that they (Usha and Rajeev) focused a lot on aesthetics whilst refurbishing these buses and provided clean toilets, television sets, temperature monitors with an attendant in tow. These solar-powered buses are guarded by female attendants. A nominal amount of Rs. 5 is charged for using the services.
Clean and safe public washrooms should be a basic right for everyone. Toilets are another source of combating gender disparity. Though this is just a start, the need for gender-neutral toilets is increasing. Since sanitation and safety go hand in hand, we need central and state authorities to abide by Supreme Court’s 2014 ruling that makes it mandatory for public spaces to provide adequate washroom facilities for transgender and third gender people.
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