Today is World Water Day, a United Nations initiative to celebrate clean water and bring attention to those who suffer from water related issues. That of course includes women.
In developing nations the responsibility for collecting water every day falls disproportionately on women and girls. On average women in these regions spend 25 percent of their day collecting water for their families, says the U.N.’s new report. This is time not spent working at an income-generating job, caring for family or attending school.
Investing in water and sanitation actually helps improve equality, which helps stimulate the economy…
Women also struggle most from the lack of adequate sanitation, the often unspoken part of the water and sanitation crisis. Around the world, fewer than one person in three has access to a toilet. In many countries, it is not acceptable for a woman to relieve herself during the day. They wait hours for nightfall, just to have privacy. This impacts health and puts their safety at risk. About half of all girls worldwide attend schools without toilets. The lack of privacy causes many girls to drop out when they reach puberty.
The dual aspects of the water crisis – lack of water and of sanitation – lock women in a cycle of poverty. They cannot attend school; they cannot earn an income.
Investing in water and sanitation actually helps improve equality, which helps stimulate the economy—every dollar invested yields between $5-28, the UN estimates. Programs like World Water Day remind us of the efforts we need to make everyday in order to make an impact and take steps to end the global water crisis.