Poverty, Waste and Women


Photo credit: UN Photo/Patricia Esteve

Over a third of the world’s population has inadequate sanitation facilities.  With no sanitation facilities, people have to urinate and defecate in highly populated, public areas.  With their waste remaining exposed to animals, insects, food, and other people it  leads to the rapid spread of diseases and diarrhea, a digestive system malfunction caused by viruses or bacteria.  One gram of human feces can contain as much as ten million viruses and a hundred parasite eggs.  Diarrhea is the main cause of death in children under four years old.  An estimated 5,000 children die daily from complications related to this ailment.

Communities with no safe water sources women-collecting-wateror latrines live lives dominated by the search for water and blighted by disease.  Women are traditionally the primary water gatherers, sometimes spending up to five hours a day collecting water.  The water can often be dirty and contaminated with diseases.  This makes women further burdened by their own illnesses and the care of others who are sick in their families.

6a00d8341c7ee953ef0167691df70f970b-800wiWomen are more vulnerable without adequate sanitation because they carry the double burden of looking after children with their own sanitation needs and finding work or resources often times with no sanitation facilities or breaks to relieve themselves. When women and girls cannot be together to urinate, defecate or manage their menstrual hygiene, they can find themselves in unsafe situations.

The Beijing Platform for Women began in 1995 by United Nations Women, an entity for gender equality and empowerment of women.  A lot still needs to be accomplished but a lot has been done.  http://beijing20.unwomen.org/en/about
The UN initiated World Toilet DayIMG_2157_2-300x225
and the We Can’t Wait campaign that featured an inflatable toilet on the main lawn of the UN bringing an awareness to the issues women have managing their sanitation problems.
Many humanitarian aid organizations are now putting gender policies in place, making natural resource management and sanitation more comprehensible.  They are finding that sustainable stewardship of the land, water, soil, plants, animals, and food in a community improves when women take a more central role in the decisions.  Effective involvement of women can be facilitated by considering:
The different roles played by men and women.
The differences between men’s and women’s rights to access and control natural resources.
Both men and women need to be involved in decision-making.
Both men and women need to participate in all stages of natural resource management.
Cultural and social barriers need to be made aware of.
Indigenous knowledge is key.
Gender appropriate technologies need to be designed with women in mind.
Work burdens of women can unfairly increase if gender isn’t considered.
The consequences of intervention may affect all members of the community.
How You Can Help:
  • These organizations are worth looking into:

Captive Daughters  Dedicated to ending sex trafficking

CEDAW  The Treaty for the Rights of Women

Madre  Demanding human rights for women and families around the world

UN WomenWatch  UN inter-agency network on women and gender equality

Women’s WORLD  because nowhere on earth are women’s voices given the same respect as men’s

Equality Now  working to end violence and discrimination against women and girls around the world through the mobilization of public pressure

WomenAid International   a women’s humanitarian aid and development agency which promotes all rights for all people in all countries

Women Without Borders  an advocacy, PR and lobbying organisation for women around the globe

Women for Women’s Human Rights   a widely renowned non-governmental organization around the globe

Womankind Worldwide  enabling women to voice their concerns and claim their rights, and to work globally for policies and practices which promote equality between men and women

Association for Women’s Rights in Development   connects, informs and mobilizes people and organizations committed to achieving gender equality, sustainable development and women’s human rights

Women’s Human Rights net   provides reliable, comprehensive, and timely information and analyses on women’s human rights in English, Spanish and French

Stop the Violence Against Women Campaign  a part of Amnesty International involved in an international campaign to stop violence against women

Human Rights Watch  a part of The Women’s Rights Division fighting against the dehumanization and marginalization of women

Women’s Forum Against Fundamentalism in Iran   promotes a greater awareness of the challenges women face living under fundamentalist regimes such as that of Iran

Women of Vision   a Christian humanitarian organization that has served the poor since 1950 through emergency relief and long-term development

Until next week,water-nepal-slider

Garbage Girl



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