In one of his Swachh Bharat addresses in 2017, PM Narendra Modiji has blamed Indian men for urinating in public and not holding the pressure until they reached their home –
There is no denying that it is not a good practice and everyone needs to be sensitized about this. However, blaming only men for this (the way he did) is not correct as explained here.
Village Women Hold Pressure
He gave an example of village women who hold on their pressure throughout the day and wait for darkness to relieve themselves and asked men to do the same too. This seems physiologically impossible to me but I am not aware of alternate arrangements those families may have and hence I will restrict this only to the habit of males (including males from urban areas) urinating in the open.
Men Work More Outside
We know that overwhelmingly large number of men compared to women are either working or in search of jobs in India (either temporary or permanent). Also, considerably more men are engaged in labor-intensive jobs compared to women. They are employed more in jobs involving outdoor work compared to women who are more engaged in indoor jobs. That means an average man needs to be outdoors for around 10-12 hours a day if not more. They don’t have the option to go back home during this time. So, if these men are not in places where they have proper toilet facilities (I hope every workplace will have that) or work on the streets, they have no option but to urinate in public.
Health And Urination
We also need to understand that an average healthy person needs to urinate 6-7 times a day. Considering an 18-hour day, we need to urinate once every 2-3 hours. So, if one needs to stay outdoor for 10-12 hours, one is likely to pee outside the home. The reason we do not see women urinating in public is that they don’t have the need to stay outdoors for so long or the jobs they are employed have toilets for them. Additionally, with excessively high focus on women’s public health and not men’s public health, we see excessive govt. focus on women toilets rather than only ‘toilets’. Men’s entry in these ‘gendered’ toilets is barred. So, in a way, our govt. is already telling men not to use toilets. Now shaming men for not urinating in the toilets is not only hypocrisy but also an extreme form of insensitivity and gynocentric behavior.
This outlook exposes PM’s own failure to construct enough number of public toilets (Sulabh Toilets is a great success in India) across India and failure of gynocentric govt policies. If Modiji was sincere about Swachh Bharat (clean India), then he would have focused on the issue of public toilets in a gender-neutral way rather than focusing only on women’s need. This is nothing but his zest for cheap politics of women empowerment.