Global Water Crisis is a Girls’ Issue

Next time you take a drink of water, remind yourself to feel grateful. Many people in the world don’t have access to clean, safe water. You may also think about the 8 hours you saved by not having to carry your family’s daily water from a distant source like so many women still do in our global community.

According to the Association for Women’s Rights in Development women and girls have always been central to water management. They use the 8 hours a day to transport between 15 and 20 liters of water in a trip. And sometimes even that water isn’t safe to drink. United Press International says 1.8 million people die from the lack of clean water every year. And 90% of the deaths are children.

Why Girls and Woman are More Affected by Water Crisis
“This gender inequality has implications in women’s daily life, from a rights based perspective, since the carrying of water not only causes them physical disorders, but also makes it difficult for them to get involved in activities such as education, income generation, politics, leisure and recreation,” according to AWRD.

A WEDO report states, “As the environment deteriorates, women’s livelihoods become increasingly vulnerable.” For example, “…the availability and placement of toilets has a huge impact on women but in many communities women must walk a long distance to use facilities, often risking their personal safety. There is an increased incidence of sexual and physical assault when toilets are in a remote location… Toilets are also unavailable for vast numbers of poor women who work in urban centers. About 1 in 10 school-age African girls do not attend school during menstruation or drop out at puberty because of the absence of clean and private sanitation facilities in schools”. Many of us heard about the similar situation in Haiti earlier this year.

Fortunately, the senate approved a Global Clean Water Legislation last month that is intended to help 100 million people around the world gain access to clean water and sanitation. Learn more at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

While there are plenty of sites geared to conserving water in your life (here are two: 100 Ways to Conserve, How to Conserve Water and Use It Effectively) one of the most important things you can do is talk to your daughters. Tell them about the global water crisis. This challenge belongs to all of us.

One of the most heartening parts of the work I do is seeing the natural advocacy girls exhibit in their lives. We often feature them in a section called Go, Girl in New Moon Girls. Girls are doing amazing advocacy work for the environment, other children, animals. They raise money for research, collect books to share and redistribute movies for kids with cancer. It’s not that I expect every girl to get involved with this water issue. Education has a different effect on everyone. Some will create new habits, others will help, and others will continue to learn. Thank you Blog Action Day for motivating me to learn about this important issue affecting women, girls, and everyone on our planet. Help Spread the Word!

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