Domestic Water and Sanitation

Everywhere in the world in settings where water needs to be collected from a source outside the house, women are primarily responsible for collecting that water. The entrenched gendering of water roles creates expectations that don’t serve men or women well and that create barriers for social change.

The gendered profile of water collection also varies with access to mechanization. While women and girls walk, men and boys are much more likely to collect water when they can use mechanized transport such as bikes, scooters, or trucks.

Despite these differences, a recent study prepared for the World Water Assessment Program reveals that the gender focus in major international data compilations is actually declining (Fletcher & Schonewille 2015). The two major water data collection entities, the UNWater/ WHO Global Analysis & Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking Water (GLAAS) and the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program (JMP) have both stopped including gender-disaggregated data in their main statistical reports: JMP reports from 2008, 2010, and 2012 included gender-disaggregated data on water collection, but gender is absent from the JMP 2013 update, the 2014 statistical table, as well as the 2015 report. Similarly, although the 2011 GLAAS survey collected gender-disaggregated data on women in public water institutions and provisioning for women in water programs, this gender focus disappeared in the 2013-2014 GLAAS survey instrument.

The GGEO water and sanitation chapter will explore gendered dimensions of water access and use; health and sustainability; trans-boundary water management; data collection; water privatization; access to improved sanitation; toilet politics; and menstrual hygiene management.

See the authors involved in the chapter drafts.