WHY WOMEN + WATER
Water is the common thread to alleviate barriers to women’s empowerment in communities of need.
Women often have fewer opportunities, including those related to education and employment, bear greater health risks, more responsibility in their homes and diminished voices in their communities.
We know that water is essential to life. We also know from women for water’s founding organization Global Water Challenge’s (GWC) wide-ranging experience that reliable access to clean water transforms the livelihoods of women, their families and their communities.
Findings from a recent Ripple Effect Study, conducted in partnership with the Water and Development Alliance and Ipsos, further substantiated this evidence by proving that water access enables women’s empowerment through eight vital pathways.
PATHWAYS: FROM DIRECT IMPACTS TO EMPOWERMENT
Lower water costs, water-related trainings, and time savings resulting from water sources closer to home create opportunities for women to save money and seek income-generating activities and entrepreneurship.
Women and girls collecting water experience reduced incidence of violence and harassment when water or sanitation sources are thoughtfully placed within the community.
Access to WASH and water is linked to improved reproductive health and personal hygiene, decreased gender-based violence, household cleanliness, and reduced disease risk.
Adequate WASH access in school improves student health and supports menstrual hygiene management. This increases attendance, attainment, and achievement of girls in schools.
Including women and girls in WASH interventions, such as water users associations, leads to skills development, leadership opportunities, and enhances their role and voice in important elements of such initiatives.
Women and girls can be most affected by food shortages related to water scarcity. A stable and varied agricultural output resulting from adequate water supply, including through improved irrigation technologies, has a disproportionately positive effect on the nutrition of women and their children.
Close proximity to water sources reduces time spent on water collection by women and girls, who are often responsible for collecting water. The ability of women and girls to choose how they spend this time is inherently empowering.
The pathways and impacts combined challenge traditional gender norms and support a cultural shift towards an enabling environment for women’s empowerment.