Improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)
Women and girls have a key role in water, sanitation and hygiene. In four out of five households without drinking water, women and girls are responsible for fetching water. The task is very time consuming and, where the infrastructure is inadequate, can take up to six hours a day. This time is then unavailable for other important activities and gainful employment.
The role of women in water supply:
Women and girls have a key role in water, sanitation and hygiene. In four out of five households without drinking water, women and girls are responsible for fetching water.
- Fetching water can also impact on health, such as spinal injuries or abortions from carrying heavy loads.
- These activities also give women valuable knowledge, such as the location and quality of drinking water sources, current community water management and existing problems. x Fully involving women in planning and implementing measures to improve water supplies therefore makes such measures more effective and sustainable. x
- Restricted access to basic water, sanitation and hygiene facilities severely impacts women and girls due to their needs related to menstruation and pregnancy as well as their roles as carers for sick family members and young children.
WASH Figuren infografik
Over a school year, girls missing around 20 percent of learning time
Every month, around 1.9 billion women and girls menstruate, i.e. more than 300 million every day. However, more than 63 million women and girls live in households without access to toilets, and 26 million young women in humanitarian emergency situations lack basic menstrual care.
When schools have inadequate sanitary facilities, girls will be absent from school more often during their periods, up to 5 days a month in sub-Saharan Africa. Over a school year, they then miss around 20 percent of learning time. Improved access to water and sanitation increases girls' participation at school x and therefore also their chances of social and economic participation.
Info: The risk of women and girls experiencing gender-specific and sexualised violence increases considerably when sanitary facilities and infrastructure are inadequate. The lack of privacy often means women and girls visit sanitary facilities and water points only at night. The mostly unlit paths and facilities as well as the lack of doors that could offer protection mean that women and girls are particularly at risk of sexual harassment and violence.