Water and gender

“The girls' toilet in our school has a small bathroom where we can have some privacy. The previous toilet did not have that, there was not even water! When having their period, a lot of girls then stayed home instead of taking the lessons.” - Rossetti Orishaba from Nyakachwamba in Uganda.

Worldwide, women are usually responsible for providing water for their families. In many countries, women and young girls often spend 3 to 4 hours a day getting water. This is an enormous investment of time and it is physically very difficult. On top of that, if there are no clean toilets at school, girls drop out once they start menstruating. 

Easy access to water and sanitation not only improves the health of women and girls. It also enables them to participate in education and training opportunities. This, in turn, should help them to find a job and obtain a better income. Equally important is the fact that, thanks to education, they also have a more autonomous and stronger life and are able to fully participate in society. Investing in sustainable access to water and sanitation is therefore a prerequisite for working on sustainable development.

Gender equality

Everyone must be involved in the planning and management of water infrastructure. In many cultures, women and men contribute to water management. After all, both groups have valuable and complementary knowledge and should therefore be given a say in the planning and implementation of water programmes. 

Women's specific responsibilities with regard to water give them expertise that is vital in finding appropriate solutions. Involving women and underprivileged people not only increases the sustainability of the programmes, but is also a way to promote gender equality within organisations, communities and families.