Gender-responsive sanitation solutions in urban India

By Miriam Hartmann, Suneeta Krishnan, Brent Rowe, A Hossain, Myles Elledge

A growing body of evidence has begun to document the specific challenges women face when accessing and using sanitation facilities, and the resultant adverse impacts on their health, safety, and productivity. In this research brief, we summarize current evidence and identify gaps in research on urban Indian women’s sanitation-related needs and constraints. We focus on women and girls’ responses to (1) the design of sanitation systems, (2) the location of these systems, and (3) women’s empowerment initiatives aimed at increasing new system implementation and adoption. We conclude by making the case for new research to improve our understanding of the association between gender and sanitation, support the development of gender-responsive designs, and evaluate the impacts of these designs on access, adoption, and longer term outcomes, including health, safety, productivity, and gender equity.


Hartmann, M., Krishnan, S., Rowe, B., Hossain, A., & Elledge, M. (2015). Gender-responsive sanitation solutions in urban India. (RTI Press Publication No. RB-0009-1502). Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press.

© 2019 RTI International. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Miriam HartmannMiriam A. Hartmann, MPH, is a public health analyst in RTI’s Women’s Global Health Imperative and an affiliate of the RTI Global Gender Center.

Suneeta KrishnanSuneeta Krishnan, PhD, is a social epidemiologist in RTI’s Women’s Global Health Imperative and an affiliate of the RTI Global Gender Center. She is also technical lead of RTI’s India office.

Brent RoweBrent R. Rowe, MA, is a senior economist in RTI’s Center for Environmental, Technology and Energy Economics.

A Hossain

Myles ElledgeMyles F. Elledge, MPIA (Master of Public and International Affairs), is a senior director, Innovation Advisors, at RTI International.  

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