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  • Writer's pictureCaterina Sullivan

Why Girls Need Clean Water to Have a Future

Updated: Nov 3, 2018

Less than two weeks.

That is what separates 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty and the announcement of the Global Goals meant to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030 and provide a sustainable future.

Of these 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty, the population who bears the brunt of the hardships are girls and women--this is especially true when it comes to Global Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation.

Of the 2.5 billion people who do not have access to proper sanitation, 663 million people still lack improved drinking water.

There are many issues that women face due to a lack of water and sanitation.

The biggest sanitation issue for women is period management. Many girls find it hard to attend class every single day when they have their period because many schools lack access to sanitation facilities. Consequently, many girls drop out at a young age.

Girls also find education difficult when they are dehydrated, sick or stressed from not having clean water and effective sanitation.

When girls are expected to fetch the majority of their family’s daily water, getting to school and studying becomes nearly impossible, especially when the trek to the nearest source of water is over 5 miles away on rough terrain. Women and children in developing countries bear this responsibility in over 75% of households. The time they spend journeying either by themselves or in pairs also means girls and women are more susceptible to being sexually assaulted or attacked by someone. It is estimated that women and children collectively spend 140 million hours per day collecting water.

The good news is that for every $1 that is invested in improving water and sanitation, the global economic return is $4. This comes from women being able to acquire jobs and girls being able to receive an education.

We are calling on world leaders to not only commit financial resources to providing clean water and sanitation for women around the world, we are calling on world leaders to encourage behaviour change to ensure we can also overcome the societal challenges that come with change.

As Chime for Change Co-Founder Salma Hayek Pinault says in the video above, "Empowering girls and women is a key step to ending extreme poverty."

This article was originally published on the Global Citizen website.


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