People in cities and villages will have to be encouraged to maintain cleanliness continuously, but at the same time local bodies must also realize that it is their duty to handle garbage. Certainly it is challenging, but it is not impossible if there is political will, collective commitment, and determination.

Women will also have to be involved in this initiative and they will also have to play an advance role. After all, it is a matter of their safety, health and above all, respect. And there must be no compromise on this. They must be educated so that they will know about its importance and can keep the wellness of health and hygiene of their family members.

Self-help groups of women can also be added in the campaign to make communities aware and to make cleanliness comprehensive. Till now self-help groups formed by women in rural areas are playing an important role in empowering women by taking part in activities like education, health, and income generation. By taking initiative in the field of cleanliness too, they can bring big change and can be helpful in restoring the dignity of women.

In rural areas, women have to go to the open or to the fields due to lack of toilet at home. That can be done mostly at a time when no one can see them, like in the early morning or evening or at night. During the day, as if it is forbidden to go. Lack of toilets directly affects their health. There is an increased risk of diseases like infectious diseases, diarrhea and typhoid. Open defecation is dangerous even from the point of view of security. Girls become more victims of sexual assault while going to relieve themselves in open.

Empowerment of Women and the Cleanliness Mission

As the government has emphasized on empowering the women and their participation in all the aspects of life so as they have to know their role in the society. Women can contribute a lot in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan by taking initiatives and by coming forward. Many women sweeping the roads can be seen in cities and metros not only keep the surrounding clean but earn a little to help the family needs.

Every woman can contribute to this mission because they are the main users of commodity items in the kitchen as well as in their house. They are called the builder of the family and their efforts will prove beneficial to inculcate the sense of responsibility among the family members. They can teach their growing kids a lesson of cleanliness right from the beginning by setting examples before them. They can make polite requests to other family members for not littering the places and the environment. They can inculcate the good values among the family members and can protect the planet from the damage.

Role of Women in Swachh Bharat Mission

There are many evidences where women have participated with great joy and zeal in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. I have a memory of a woman named Sudha of Kerala has sacrificed her family time to achieve a target of building more than 500 toilets in the forest area. Many women from self-help groups are an example. Although many women have contributed a lot in this mission yet some more involvement of women is needed.

To achieve the total success of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan our government has also given the privilege to the women. Many other schemes have been launched by the government like Ujjwala Yojana for eradicating the problems faced by the women of the country.

Participation of Women in Swachh Bharat Mission

Here are some points mentioned here under that will give a brief measure for the participation of women in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and to make our country free from pollution:

 

By taking pledge for not to use single use plastics: Women also have to realize the harmful effects of plastics. This can be only done through education. The mass media and T.V. channels have to broadcast programmes related to this topic. By sharing photos of cleanliness work done by anyone will improve the knowledge, working as a stimulator. Everything is packed into plastic nowadays and people like to purchase the eatables that are packed into attractive plastic packets. But the disposal of these plastic wrappers is important.

Women have to know the difference between the biodegradable and non- biodegradable stuffs and they have to learn their disposal in separate bins in their kitchen. They have to give priority to make arrangements for the recycle of plastic products and sell the plastic waste into the hands of recyclers.

By Inculcating Good Values among the Family Members: Women can inculcate good values among the family members and can describe the health hazards caused by living in dirty condition. They can make pressure on other family members for washing their hands properly before taking meals of the day. They can notice the bad habits and can suggest the member to leave that habit. She can keep the house neat and clean and can motivate others to keep the surrounding tidy.

Women can Demand Toilets in Rural Areas: It is seen in Haryana that a slogan raised by the state government, “No Toilet, No Bride”, is resulting in the building of toilet which has now become a compulsion to be added in the family. People of Haryana who were capable to construct a toilet remained deaf and dumb but after this slogan they have started building toilets on their own nowadays. Such kind of initiative can bring a change in the scenario. Defecation in open is not only injurious for the health of the people but also a danger for the safety of the women.

Formation of Self-help Groups and Their Involvement in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: Many self-help groups are registered on the platform and they are getting privilege of lower interest rates by the commercial banks. Many of them have participated in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan at par. For the success of the mission more groups have to register and contribute in this mission. When the half of the population will become financially strong; they can take decision by their own in the progress of the country. The group can indulge in various kinds of activities such as tree plantation and community cleanliness drive.

 

Women’s Contribution in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in India

Jharkhand: Jharkhand has set an example by constructing 1.7 lakh toilets in the state. The women participation in achieve this target was amazing. Around 1.5 million women have actively participated in it. About 1 lakh Sakhi Mandal Members, 14 lakh other women, 2000 female Panchayat representatives, 29000 female labourers, 10000 women cleaning staff, and 50000 female mason took part to fulfill the mission in just 20 days.

Karnataka: In Kalaburagi district of Karnataka, the CEO of Zila Panchayat Hepshiba Rani Korlapati, has accepted the challenge of constructing 10000 toilets in two weeks to eradicate the problem of defecating in open. This was just a beginning of the cleanliness change that she initiated. Now at present stage more than 34 lakh toilets have been built in rural area and about 1 lakh toilets have been constructed in urban areas.

Madhya Pradesh: Indore, the largest city of Madhya Pradesh, has been on the top list of Swachh Bharat Mission for three consecutive years. This is the result of efforts taken by the present Mayor of the city Smt. Malini Gaur. She has achieved this apex with the help of Municipal Corporation. Smt. Gaur keeps a close observation of the work and regularly visits different areas to know the problem of the people.

Maharashtra: Another woman, Nidhi Choudhary, has also accepted the challenge of tribal district Palghar, a tribal district of Maharashtra. Nidhi Choudhary’s efforts and work for constructing 104000 toilets to make the district ODF by taking active collaboration of UNICEF and the central and state governments. Another woman of the same district Smt. Sushila Khurkute, who dug the earth in her pregnancy period to make a toilet in her house is appreciated and honoured by the Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi on the International Women’s Day.

Himachal Pradesh: Former Miss India, Kalpana Thakur, is owner of a beautiful tourist resort in the Prini village of Himachal Pradesh. She has devoted her life for recycling and reusing the plastic waste for many years. The disposable waste of the resort is reused for making bird feeders, flower pots, pen stands etc. by the discarded paper napkins, egg trays, and packaging materials etc. She decorated her resort by reusable waste items. She has also started to collect the plastic waste, tetra packs and tins from the market and design many valuable items for the use of human.

Uttar Pradesh: The second Swachh Sakhi event was held in Lucknow in the year 2018. A large number of women are recognised for their active participation in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. More than 8000 female Panchayat representatives, 3000 women swachhagrahis and other women have participated in the programme and were awarded by the government.

Swachh Shakti 2019: Rural Women Champions for Swachh Bharat

Swachh Shakti-2019 was a national event held in Kurukshetra on 12th February, 2019; to acknowledge the efforts of the rural women who have participated with a great enthusiasm and energy in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. It is the convention of women Sarpanches from all across the country. Approx. 15000 women have participated in this event and many of them have been awarded for their outstanding work in the cleanliness mission to make India clean and tidy.

These Ten Women Received the Swachh Shakti Award:

  • Uttara Thakur, Sarpanch of Chicha village in Chhattisgarh.
  • Neelam Kaur of Haryana.
  • Asha Devi of Kadel village, Rajasthan.
  • Manju Maurya of Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh.
  • Sumitra Kumari of Assam.
  • Shabani Dakoi of West Bengal.
  • Akamma of Karnataka
  • Mallika of Tamil Nadu
  • Susheela Kurkutte of Maharashtra and
  • Ramila Gamit of Gujarat

Keeping the house and courtyard clean is often the priority of the house owner. If woman takes a pledge to contribute towards the creation of a clean and healthy India, then no one can stop the campaign from being successful. Self-help groups of women can be linked in the campaign to make communities aware and to promote cleanliness.

They can also bring big changes by taking initiatives in the field of cleanliness and can be helpful in restoring the dignity of women. Certainly it is challenging, but it is also possible if there is political will, collective commitment, and determination. Women will also have to be involved in this initiative and will have to play an upfront role. After all it is a matter of their safety, health and above all, respect.