Gender and Water


The lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitation affects women disproportionally. Most of the water collecting, when it is not available nearby, is carried out by women and girls. This time consuming activity prevents them from education and income generation and has an adverse impact on their health. The lack of access to basic sanitation infrastructures in their homes or in refugee camps is a question of dignity and puts women and girls at greater risk of violence and assault. Equally, the lack of safe and private toilets at schools is a reason for drop out amongst young girls and thus a direct obstacle to girls’ education and economic opportunities. The introduction of payment for water can constitute a new burden for women. In terms of water and sanitation gender aspects concerning access, health, safety, privacy, comfort and hygiene have to be taken into account. Furthermore the reduction and redistribution of the time used for collecting water as well as women’s integration in decision-making over water resources are crucial in promoting the right to water and sanitation for all.

Resources and publications on gender in natural resources, food security, climate change and biodiversity you can find here.

SDC (2005): Gender and Water: Mainstreaming gender equality in water, hygiene and sanitation interventions