Skip to main content

Is CSR gender insensitive? Corporate India fails to address sanitary needs of teenage, school-going girls

By Rajiv Shah
A recent study on how corporate social responsibility (CSR) is being used for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship programme, Swacch Bharat Mission (SBM) has revealed that, despite “a vast body of research” showing that individual attitudes are the “key reasons for high open defecation rates” in India, “only 20% of companies reported integrating behaviour change into their programmes.
Titled “CSR in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): What are India’s top companies up to?”, the study has been facilitated by the India Sanitation Coalition (ISC), and carried out by a research team consisting of Anushree Parekh, Poorvaja Prakash, Richa Mukerjee and Dakshini Bhattacharya.
In all 100 companies with the largest CSR budgets on the BSE 500 were selected. Of the 90 companies that supported WASH programmes, 45 were from the heavy engineering and manufacturing sector, 19 from the banking sector, 11 from IT and finance, six from healthcare, five from the fast- moving consumer goods, three from telecommunication industry and one was a media and entertainment undertaking.
Of the 90 companies, 34 were public sector undertakings.
Instead of putting in efforts into behavioural change, the study finds that majority of the companies, 83, supported “hardware” interventions, such as constructing toilets. As for “software” interventions, while only 19 supported programmes relating to behavioural initiatives, awareness creation  in the form of Swacchata Saptah was supported by 14 companies, community ownership by three companies, and capacity building and ecosystem development by two companies each.
The study underlines, “While 18 companies had programmes relating to both aspects, further analysis revealed that 65 companies reported implementing hardware programs without any focus on software.”
Even in hardware, the study says, “Only 15% (13) of companies incorporated the repair and maintenance of new or existing toilets in their CSR programmes.”
Similarly, the study says,” 41% of companies focussed on providing facilities for clean drinking water”, yet “only 19% provided water storage facilities.” Further, “14% or 12 companies reported programs in waste management.”
Most of the solid waste management included “distribution of dustbins, building soak pits and the construction of bio-digester toilets. There was almost no report of activities like emptying pits and septic tanks, transportation to sewage treatment facilities and disposal/reuse of waste”, it says.
Pointing towards gender insensitivity of CSR programme, the study says, “Around 28% of Indian girls do not attend school during menstruation due to the lack of sanitation facilities in schools.” Yet, “CSR support for menstrual management facilities was non-existent.”
Thus, “Only 5% or four companies on the list supported the issue by providing a package of services that could be availed by female students to ensure their regular experience in school remained unhampered through the course of menses.”
Pointing out how CSR interventions neglects urban areas, the study says, “Only Swachhta Saptah (cleanliness week) drives were conducted in urban areas, possibly owing to the fact that they are mainly organised in the vicinity of regional headquarters of companies or offices which tend to be located in urban or semi-urban regions.”
This is happening despite “growing slum populations, with over 50 million people forced to defecate in the open”, and “slums lacking toilet facilities and community toilets rendered unusable due to poor maintenance.”

Comments

lee woo said…
There are certain things I don't want to joke about. If it's about somebody else, it's fine. If it's about me, I think it's totally insensitive! See the link below for more info.

#insensitive
www.ufgop.org

TRENDING

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

UN experts object to GoI move to 'reinforce' trend of prosecution, eviction of tribals

Counterview Desk
In a report sent to the Government of India, three United Nations (UN) special rapporteurs, expressing "concerns" over the failure to ensure "adequate" implementation of the India Forest Rights Act (FRA), have regretted that the Government of India has not cared to reply their previous communications on this.

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

Can't go to court with RTI information, rule Ahmedabad authorities: Kankaria accident

By Pankti Jog*
In a shocking reply to an application filed by me, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities have said that the information provided under the Right to Information (RT) Act should be used in court or in a judicial process. The Act is known to be a major tool that enables citizens to seek certified copies of documents, records from any public authority of state and Central government within 30 days, as per provisions of the Act.

Central Gujarat effluent channel 'releasing' highly polluted industrial wastewater: PM told

Counterview Desk
Senior environmentalists of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara, Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant, in an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Gujarat chief minister, the Gujarat chief secretary, and senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials dealing with environment, pollution and climate change have said that the authorities’ response their pleas to take action against the leakages and flow of polluted wastewater from the effluent channels of Central Gujarat industrial areas has met with complete inertia.

RTI Act holy cow for Govt of India? Official insists, don't ask why, when, what, where

By Pankti Jog*
The Government of India appears to have begun treating the Right to Information (RTI) Act as a holy cow. Its officials seem to believe that the Act is a sacred law, under which people shouldn't be questioning its functioning. One recalls what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing an RTI convention in 2015: “Why should government wait for people to ask information, we will have all information out in the domain, we have nothing to hide."

As submergence stares Narmada valley, Patkar says: With powerful in throne, we're helpless

Counterview Desk
Well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), plans to begin its “Resist Illegal Submergence in Narmada Valley” satyagraha on August 21 at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, amidst news that the situation in the valley is “critical”, with two persons having already died in flood-related incidents in the upstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam.