8 MARCH IS INTERNATIONAL WOMEN´S DAY

International Women’s Day is commemorated globally on 8 March. The global movement for women´s rights are on equality, safety, and justice. Today, we are “Standing with all women and girls at the heart of climate justice”.

The theme for this year’s observance is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”. The United Nations are hosting a dedicated event today.

This year’s IWD observance is in recognition and celebration of the women and girls who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation and response, and to honour their leadership and contribution towards a sustainable future.

Watch the UN event here https://media.un.org/en/asset/k13/k138j2xeps

More resources: https://www.unwomen.org/en/news-stories/announcement/2021/12/international-womens-day-2022-gender-equality-today-for-a-sustainable-tomorrow

AquaFed´s work and the daily job of private water operators is safe drinking water and wastewater services. These services are key for the liberation of women, they transform women´s lives.

Today almost half the World’s women still have no adequate water and sanitation at home. Shortage, indignity, sickness, drudgery, deprivation – this is their water world. Women suffer the most from these deficiencies. Working for and with women, private water operators are engaged every day to change this. Delivering water and sanitation reliably changes a woman’s world.

People need water every day. Without an affordable and reliable supply of water and effective sanitation, basic human rights are infringed. This situation has an huge impact on women´s lives:

  • More than 1.6 million children under the age of five die every year simply because the water they drink is not safe.
  • 1.1 billion people around the world have no access to safe drinking water. That’s one person in 6.
  • 2.6 billion people around the world don’t have proper sanitation.

…and women still carry most of the world’s water. The task of providing water for households falls disproportionately to women and girls. Safe drinking water, a human right, is critical for human survival and development. A sufficient supply of biologically and chemically safe water is necessary for drinking and personal hygiene to prevent from water borne diseases like diarrheal diseases, trachoma, intestinal worm infections, stunted growth among children, and many other hazards from chemical contaminants like arsenic and lead. We all have to join to overcome this horrific situation and to get off the burden from the women´s shoulders. Save water services are key.

AquaFed highlights two important issues in the discussion on gender and water and wastewater services which have a ripple effect on only on every woman´s life but also on the societies they live in:

  • equality in service provision in safe drinking water and sanitation
  • equal access to jobs within the water sector

In 2016 AquaFed and the Women for Water Partnership submitted a joint contribution to the Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation:

See the full report by Special Rapporteur Heller: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/WaterAndSanitation/SRWater/Pages/GenderEquality.aspx

And the joint Women for Water Partnership and AquaFed submission: https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Water/GenderEquality/CivilSociety/AquaFed.pdf

The Special Rapporteur on water and sanitation to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Prof. Léo Heller, requested input on his proposed report on Gender Equality. AquaFed teamed up with Women for Water Partnership in this task. AquaFed member companies and WfWP member organisations WPLUS (Nepal) and Consam (Colombia) offered valuable input for the recommendations. AquaFed and WfWP provided two points of view: • (i) equality in service provision in water and sanitation • (ii) equal access to jobs within the water sector

AquaFed and WfWP shed light on gender equality, how to combat stereotypes and about the role of men and women.

The more service provision diverges from full compliance, the greater become the inequalities between women and men. Women suffer more because of their biological needs, role in domestic life and the taboos and cultural biases, common in all societies.

The only sustainable way to ensure gender equality, tackle discrimination and eliminate abuses is to achieve the total satisfaction of the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation for everyone, everywhere and at all times.

To achieve this, our joint recommendations include: • Governments to give priority to providing integrated water and sanitation services at all levels (through political commitment and prioritisation in planning, financing and service operation) • Public, private companies and CSOs/ CBOs and NGOs like women’s organizations to assist through advocacy and awareness raising and capacity development. • Businesses and organisations to apply gender equality policies and staff awareness. • Media to spread wider public awareness campaigns on the link between water and women. • The collection of disaggregated data on gender, level of income and location (rural, sub-urban-urban). • By involving women in formal and semiformal water and sanitation service delivery projects.

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