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The water crisis facing our planet affects all. Yet in developing countries where the water crisis is most pronounced, its burden is unequally carried by women and girls. Women, not their male counterparts, “typically bear the main responsibility for keeping their homes supplied with water, caring for the sick, maintaining a hygienic domestic environment and bringing up healthy children” (UN Water). And the few girls that attend school are more likely to stop attending school when safe latrines or adequate sanitation—important facilities that assist in menstrual management/hygiene—are unavailable. Therefore, having clean, accessible, and sustainable water is a vital need for females of all ages.

Despite the importance of water and sanitation to women and girls, they are still much less likely to have a say in how and who gets access to water for domestic and productive use and in the design and operation of sanitation facilities. Women’s empowerment goes hand-in-hand with the improvement and equitable governance of water supply and sanitation facilities. As implementers, we must promote changes in cultural norms, policies and institutions that perpetuate gender inequity in how water and related resources are used.

To see our research in the area of women's empowerment and gender equity, please visit Our Research page. Other resources can be found below.

Women and Water+ Resources

Violence, Gender and WASH Toolkit

ViolenceGenderWASH.pngThis toolkit was developed in response to the acknowledgement that although the lack of access to appropriate WASH services is not the root cause of violence, it can lead to increased vulnerabilities to violence in various forms. Additionally, effectively considering gender can also contribute to longer-term changes in attitudes and relationships between men and women, likewise reducing vulnerabilities to violence. This toolkit offers clarifying, practical steps that development practitioners can take to reduce these vulnerabilities by highlighting best practices, case studies, methodologies and toolsets.

The toolkit was developed by Sarah House, Suzanne Ferron, Dr. Marni Sommer and Sue Cavill, on behalf of WaterAid, with contributions from a wide range of actors. It was funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) through the Sanitation and Hygiene Applied Research For Equity (SHARE) Consortium and was co-published by a number of organisations, including CARE.

Gender, Violence & WASH Toolkit

Menstrual Hygiene Matters

MHMMatters.JPGMenstrual hygiene matters is an essential resource for improving menstrual hygiene for women and girls in lower and middle-income countries. Nine modules and toolkits cover key aspects of menstrual hygiene in different settings, including communities, schools and emergencies.

To download the modules and toolkits individually or in high-resolution, please visit: Water Aid: Menstrual Hygiene Matters

Useful Links

UNICEF: For Her It's the Big Issue: Putting Women at the Centre of Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene.
OXFAM: In The Public Interest
World Bank Water and Sanitation Program: Gender in Water and Sanitation
WaterAid; Inclusive WASH: Resource Library, Gender: Women and Girls
United Nations Human Rights: The Right to Water; Women, Page 19
WASH Plus: Gender and Wash & Indoor Air Pollution (IAP)
Maternal Health Task Force: WASH and Women's Health Series