WORLD WATER DAY – MARCH 22 – WOMEN, GIRLS & WATER
Today, more than 200 million hours will be spent by women and girls walking for water. Water for washing, cooking and cleaning. Water for drinking.
Girls and women are particularly affected when communities lack clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene.
Why are girls and women worst affected by a lack of clean water?
Typically responsible for unpaid domestic work, girls and women are often expected to collect water from unsafe sources like rivers, streams and holes in the ground.
Carrying full water containers, as heavy as 20kg, on their heads or backs leaves its mark on them physically, contorting their spines and leading to problems in childbirth and later in life.
Collecting water – often for hours every day – can make them late for school or unable to work, putting them at a disadvantage to men and boys.
And drinking, cooking and washing with this dirty water exposes them to deadly diarrhoeal diseases every day.
Why are decent toilets and good hygiene particularly important for girls and women?
Not having a decent toilet at home or in public places can be especially difficult for women.
It can put them at increased risk of harassment and physical and sexual violence while going to the toilet in the open.
It makes managing their periods much more challenging, causing girls to miss school and women to stay home from work.
Without clean water, soap or a toilet, keeping themselves and their family healthy is incredibly difficult.
To be in school
“My dream was to become a doctor or a teacher.” 18 year old Azmatun dropped out of school to help her family collect water.
WaterAid/ Prashanth Vishwanathan
To have your period safely
“Periods shouldn’t come in the way of us achieving our dreams. I don’t think any girl should miss a school day because she is a girl.” – Melal, 15, Ethiopia
WaterAid/ Kate Holt
To be safe from attack
“My daughter is growing up. She needs privacy in the toilet but sending her to a shared one with no door locks is worrying,” – Sanjida’s mother Nazma.
WaterAid/ GMB Akash