The Burden of Clean Water Worldwide Still Borne by Women
The Burden of Clean Water Worldwide Still Borne by Women.
Clean, drinkable water is crucial for human existence, but according to the Women Thrive Alliance, roughly 663 million people worldwide still lack easy access to safe water.
Globally, women and girls are the primary water collectors for their families: In African countries, women are five times more likely than men to collect drinking water for the household, particularly in rural areas; a 2012 study by UNICEF in 25 sub-Saharan African countries estimates that women there spend 16 million hours collecting water every day.
The WHO’s recommendation is for 20-50 liters of water per person per day for drinking, cooking and hygiene.
“Just imagine — those 200 million hours add up to 8.3 million days, or more than 22,800 years,” Sanjay Wijesekera, UNICEF’s Global Head of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, said in a 2016 blog post.
“It’s as if a woman started with her empty bucket in the Stone Age and didn’t arrive home with water until 2016.” And as Bethany Caruso noted recently in The Conversation, “The United Nations forecasts that if current water use patterns do not change, world demand will exceed supply by 40 percent by 2030.
In such a scenario, it is hard to imagine that women’s and girls’ experiences will improve without intentional efforts.” Ensuring the availability and sustainable management of clean water and sanitation for all is one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.
Here are just a few: In 2014, Keurig Green Mountain launched an effort to address the long-term, interconnected challenges of the global water crisis, starting with an $11 million commitment to support leading NGOs working to promote water security around the world.
Also in 2014, the Acqua for Life campaign — a partnership between Giorgio Armani and Green Cross International that has provided sustainable drinking water systems to water-scarce communities in West Africa and Latin America since its launch in 2011 — expanded its work to Sri Lanka, Ivory Coast and Senegal.
In early 2015, Belgian beer maker Stella Artois launched its first global social impact campaign, “Buy a Lady a Drink,” specifically aimed at helping to put a stop to women’s water-collecting journeys; the brewer donated $1.2 million to Water.org and invited consumers to join the cause by purchasing limited-edition Stella Artois chalices, with each purchase helping Water.org provide five years of clean water to one person in the developing world.