A study titled “Measuring Urban Sanitation Empowerment (MUSE)” found that around half of the women living in Saidpur and Meherpur municipalities still need to ask for permission to buy sanitary products.
A dissemination workshop for presenting the preliminary findings of the study took place on March 5, 2023, at the ITN-BUET seminar room, and was centered around International Women’s Day.
The study was conducted by ITN-BUET in collaboration with Emory University and with support from the CWIS-FSM Support Cell, DPHE, WaterAid Bangladesh, and Practical Action. The study surveyed 1,449 adult women in Meherpur and Saidpur municipalities of Bangladesh. The aim of the study was to create and validate measures of sanitation-related empowerment in urban settings.
Ms. Makfie Farah, Knowledge Management Specialist, ITN-BUET presented the major findings from the study during the workshop. Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ashraf Ali, Professor, Civil Engineering Department, BUET and chairperson of the ITN-BUET Research Committee was also present and shared the research initiatives of ITN-BUET with the participants.
The study revealed that 60% of women in Meherpur and 49% of women in Saidpur rely on someone else to pay for sanitary materials. Additionally, in both municipalities, more than half of the surveyed women agreed that women are expected to maintain the cleanliness of family sanitation facilities more often than men.
Nonetheless, more than half of the surveyed women in Meherpur and Saidpur municipalities said that their families and local authorities are supportive of sanitation-related issues which indicates a favorable shift toward a willingness to handle sanitation-related issues at both levels.
The participants highlighted the importance of conducting research on rural sanitation in addition to urban sanitation focusing on women. They also emphasized the utilization and interpretation of data thoroughly such as producing co-relation matrixes among variables for having information on various groups and indicators.
Dignified guests, including Mr. MD Shahinur Rahman (Panel Mayor, Meherpur Municipality) and S.M. Shamim Ahmed (Project Director and Superintending Engineer, DPHE) were present and provided their valuable insights during the discussion session.
Representatives from diverse sanitation-related disciplines of Bangladesh, such as DPHE, CFSC BUET, BASA, BRAC, Athena Infonomics, UAP, NGO Forum, WSUP, SNV, DORP, WaterAid, and Practical Action attended the dissemination event.