Today (March 22) is World Water Day, a day devoted to bringing awareness to the global water crisis and taking action to end it.
Last year, I wrote about why the cause is important to me and how the privilege of access to clean water and sanitation does not go unnoticed in my day to day life.
Ending the global water and sanitation crisis once and for all starts with addressing its effect on girls and women. We have made huge strides over the years in tackling the lack of clean water and sanitation around the world, but there is still work to be done.
Today, 663 million people globally are without clean water and the vast majority of them—522 million—live in rural areas. Women and girls are disproportionally affected due to barriers relating to geographic remoteness and gender roles.
To help bring light to the issue WaterAid just launched a new campaign, Girl Strong, to offer a glimpse into the problems that many women and girls face day in and day out.
According to WaterAid:
- Every year, women and girls spend 40 billion hours collecting water — that’s the equivalent to all the hours worked in a year by the entire workforce in France.
- Women and girls walk an average of six miles round-trip to collect water, carrying an average of 40 pounds (approximately the same amount your checked baggage can weigh on most commercial airline flights).
- In India alone, it is estimated that collecting and carrying water costs 150 million work days every single year.
- It is estimated that women and girls spend 97 billion hours each year looking for a place to urinate or defecate, because they don’t have access to a toilet.
To put the above facts in perspective, those numbers represent about 10 times more hours collecting and carrying water than all Americans spent sitting in traffic last year. This isn’t a quick trip to the store or faucet for water.
The truth is that with full access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services, women and girls are not only empowered but they can reclaim their time, safety and dignity. This poster illustrates the amazing positive effects on women and girls that will occur with access to WASH.
To celebrate World Water Day, here are a few ways you can take action:
- Wear blue on World Water Day (March 22) and post your photos to Facebook or Twitter using #Blue4Water for #GirlStrong!
- Use WaterAid’s #Blue4Water social media filter to turn your social media blue!
- Take the Just Water Challenge to drink just water for World Water Day. No coffee, no soft drinks, no smoothies. This may make you feel a little ‘blue’ – but tell the world why you‘re #Blue4Water, donate what you would have spent to WaterAid and you’ll feel much better!
- Read and share the second annual 2017 State of the World’s Water report, Wild Water.
- Donate to WaterAid America or shop in the WaterAid Shop to support their work all over the globe.
How will you celebrate World Water Day?
This is an original post written for World Moms Network by Jennifer Iacovelli.