The right to water and sanitation is recognised as fundamental to attaining all other human rights. However, globally, 2.1 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water at home, and 2.3 billion do not have basic sanitation and 1 billion still practice open defecation.
Amongst this, women are the most vulnerable section. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by the lack of access to essential water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.
Women are largely responsible for household water, sanitation and hygiene management; they bear a disproportionate burden when these basic services are lacking, and face health, security and psychological vulnerabilities due to inadequate access and decision-making control.
Therefore, access to water and sanitation, if delivered well, empowers women economically and socially. Done poorly, it may undermine women’s position at home and in the community.
- There is a need for the political imperative to recognise that both women and men’s involvement are integral to sustainable water, sanitation, and hygiene management.
- Policy Framework for Women Leadership: Women’s leadership and decision making power in water and sanitation is critical. Therefore, enabling policy frameworks backed by resources, training and political will, are vital to developing and sustaining women’s leadership in the water sector at the local, national and global level.
- As the women already spend 2.6 times more hours than men on unpaid activities, including caregiving and domestic work. Citizenry as a part of society to ensure their involvement in water and sanitation services does not further contribute to the burden of unpaid work, or decrease the ability to earn an income.
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