We Can’t Wait: Women, Sanitation and Hygiene 2013

WaterAid wecantwait 2013To mark World Toilet Day (November 19, 2013), WaterAid, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council and Unilever published this excellent resource on the vital importance of safe sanitation to women. As the report states, “Ending the global sanitation crisis is one of the most urgent developmental challenges of the 21st century. By the end of 2011 there were 2.5 billion people, over one third of the world’s population, living without safe, adequate sanitation and hygiene. The lack of access to this essential service holds back social and economic development through its negative impacts on health, education and livelihoods. It is the principal cause of diarrhoea, the second biggest killer of children worldwide, and it contributes significantly to malnutrition, stunting and the overall global burden of disease.”

The report cites 6 reasons why Sanitation and Hygiene is a gender issue:

  • It enables women to save the lives of their children,
  • It protects women from the threat of violence,
  • It affords privacy and dignity during mentruation,
  • It keeps children in school,
  • It makes it possible for women to be in the workplace.

It concludes with a series of recommendations for governments and for the Post-2015 agenda, with special emphasis on integration with education:

“All governments must have sanitation integrated into education policy supported by sufficient resources and concrete plans to ensure that:

–  All schools have adequate sanitation facilities including handwashing facilities and separate toilets for boys and girls with access for students with disabilities.

–  Specific provision is made at school for establishing proper menstrual hygiene management facilities.

–  Hygiene promotion is featured as an important part of the school curriculum from primary level. “