Slums, women and sanitary living in South-South Nigeria

Emmanuel M. Akpabio (Lead / Corresponding author), Nsikan Abasi U. Wilson, Kemfon A. Essien, Iniubong E. Ansa, Princess N. Odum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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How much do slums affect women’s ability to negotiate access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH)? We used random narratives, interviews, and a review of literature from theoretical and secondary sources to capture the experiences of slum dwellers in South-South Nigeria. Our findings demonstrate that women and girls bear disproportionate burden and risk of poor and inadequate WaSH services in the course of domestic supplies and management and making tough choices in negotiating between personal sanitary needs of privacy and safety as well as attending to domestic hygiene, childcare and other chores. These lived realities and experiences are partly associated with gendered public policy practices, linked to the broader socio-cultural norm that confine women’s roles to the private/domestic spheres, while men are free to pursue higher aspirations and opportunities. Limited State capacity to guarantee universal access to WaSH for slum dwellers automatically shifts the responsibility for its provision to the private/domestic domain with women bearing the greater burden. We argue that the non-recognition of slums in official discourses limit their consideration for essential public services provision, and the implication of such neglect is discussed in the context of the consequences on women in the course of negotiating access to WaSH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1229-1248
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Housing and the Built Environment
Early online date3 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021


  • Akwa ibom
  • Gender
  • Poverty
  • Rivers
  • Urban outskirts
  • WaSH


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