“We Can’t Wait”: a report on sanitation and hygiene for women and girls
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The international community acknowledged the importance of sanitation by including targets in the Millennium Development Goals. Yet with the 2015 deadline fast approaching we are still far from addressing this global crisis.
United Nations Member States this year unanimously adopted a resolution to designate 19 November as World Toilet Day as a means to raise awareness about this very concrete and pressing issue. By highlighting the direct impact of poor sanitation on people throughout the world, World Toilet Day can help generate action to make sanitation for all a global development priority.
The UN High Level Panel report, published in May 2013, outlined a vision for the post-2015 development agenda. The UN Global Compact – the world’s largest corporate citizenship initiative – fed into this report through a series of 43 consultations incorporating the views of over 1,700 of the world’s leading companies.
Following the 2012 Toilets for Health paper, this year there was collaboration with international NGO WaterAid and with the UN hosted organisation the Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), two of the world’s leading organisations working in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector. This paper is a joint contribution to raise awareness of the impacts of poor sanitation on women across the world and a call for a concerted effort on a different scale from all levels of government, business and civil society.
As we near the end of 2013 there are still 2.5 billion people, or over one third of the world’s population, without access to
adequate sanitation. Basic sanitation is now recognised as a fundamental human right, the deprivation of which affects the
social, physical and economic well-being of societies world-wide.
Poor sanitation has significant impacts on the safety, well-being and educational prospects of women. Girls’ lack of access to a clean, safe toilet, especially during menstruation, perpetuates risk, shame and fear. This has long-term impacts on women’s health, education, livelihoods and safety but it also impacts the economy, as failing to provide for the sanitation needs of women ultimately risks excluding half of the potential workforce.
- The global sanitation crisis and why we can’t wait
- Why poor sanitation is a women’s issue
- Girls, sanitation and education – toilets spell success
- Menstrual hygiene issues
- A crisis far too big to solve alone
- Conclusions and recommendations