Women, water and sanitation

Women, water and sanitation

How does access to clean water and sanitation affect women?

Women and children are the first to suffer from the disruption of water supply and the provision of sanitation services. This collection of four essays examines different issues faced in the provision of clean water and sanitation supplies and how the effectiveness of these services directly impacts on women’s lives. The African Union Summit in 2008 specifically focused on meeting the millennium development goals on sanitation and water and this document is aimed at focusing African leader’s attention on how the issue affects women in particular.

The overall message of the four articles is that women are the worst hit by shortages of water and poor sanitation because they have to travel longer distances to search for water under very insecure conditions. They argue that access to clean water and sanitation does not only improve the health of a family, but it also provides an opportunity for girls to go to school, and for women to use their time more productively than in fetching water thereby contributing more to the economy. Mozambique is highlighted as a specific case study which focuses on the role that gender plays in clean water and sanitation provision. Finally the document considers the case of Burundi where in some regions there are very few water sources or catchment areas. Even where there is water, the difficulty lies in making it easily accessible.

  1. How good is this research?

    Assessing the quality of research can be a tricky business. This blog from our editor offers some tools and tips.