Making gender equality a reality.

22 Facts About Women & Water

Posted on March 22, 2016 by Bridget Mahoney

World Water Day

[photo credit: Jon Gossier]

Since 1993, World Water Day (celebrated on March 22) has brought attention to water-related issues and inspired the world to take action to improve access to clean, safe water for everyone.

Women and girls are uniquely affected by their access — or lack of it — to clean water. To help bring awareness to the connection between women and water, we’ve compiled a list of 22 facts that you may not know.

  1. 663 million people lack access to safe water (source)
  2. Globally, women and girls are the primary water collectors for their families (source)
  3. In African countries, women are five times more likely than men to collect drinking water for the household (source)
  4. On average, women and girls travel 3.7 miles per day collecting water and carry up to 5 gallons per trip (source)
  5. For a family of six, collecting enough water for drinking, cooking, and basic hygiene means hauling water for an average of three hours per day (source)
  6. Every day, women and children around the globe spend 200 million hours collecting water (source)
  7. In some parts of India, women have to wait up to 10 days for water (source)
  8. Women are responsible for maintaining basic household hygiene and keeping themselves and their children clean without contaminating the stored water they need for drinking and cooking (source)
  9. Access to enough good quality water is vital to protecting pregnant women from serious diseases such as hepatitis and sepsis (source)
  10. Giving birth in places with inadequate drinking water, sanitation facilities, and poor management of medical waste increases the risk of disease and death for the mother and her baby (source)
  11. Women who carry heavy water containers on their head, hip, or back can experience many physical issues, including pelvic deformities that may result in childbirth problems (source)
  12. 70 percent of the world’s blind are women who have been infected, directly or through their children, with trachoma—a blinding bacterial eye infection occurring in communities with limited access to water (source)
  13. 80 percent of young women with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa where women and girls still have the primary burden of collecting water for their families.  The side effects of HIV/AIDS make collecting and carrying water more difficult.  This leaves their daughters with the primary responsibility of collecting water and taking care of their sick parents and grandparents (source)
  14. Women and girls living without a toilet spend 266 million hours each day finding a place to go (source)
  15. Many women only use the restroom at night because there isn’t a safe, private place for them to use.  This increases the risk of assault, sexual harassment, and animal attacks (source)
  16. Globally, 1/3 of all schools lack access to safe water and sanitation (source)
  17. Many girls drop out of school during puberty because there aren’t separate toilets, hand washing facilities, and sanitary napkin disposals (source)
  18. A 15-minute reduction in water collection time increases the proportion of girls attending school by 8-12 percent (source)
  19. In sub-Saharan Africa, women spend 40 billion hours a year collecting water.  That is equivalent to a year’s worth of labor by the entire French workforce (source)
  20. In India, there are 62 percent more drinking water projects in areas with female-led councils (source)
  21. Women’s involvement in the planning, financing, and upkeep of community water projects makes the projects six to seven times more effective (source)
  22. Increasing women’s access to clean water would free up hundreds of hours annually that could be devoted to more valuable and economically beneficial pursuits (source)



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