Water and sanitation

Most of the world’s 1.2 billion poor people lack access to safe and reliable water for productive and domestic uses, and two thirds of these are women. Women and girls, who constitute the majority of the population in water-scarce areas, have different responsibilities with respect to water management and different demands on water resources than do men in most cultures; for example, women use water to a greater extent for production, consumption and domestic purposes, as well as for sanitation and hygiene. Water-related initiatives frequently fail to take into account women’s concerns relating to their multiple uses of water. Having a say in how water is allocated, distributed and used through water-use associations can help ensure women’s concerns are also addressed. As competition for water continues to intensify due to population growth, climate change, and demands from industry and agriculture, ensuring that women’s water needs are considered will be of ever greater importance.