Who carries the weight of water? Women’s informal and unpaid water provision

WGF and ILO consolidate global research to draw attention to the extent of women’s and girls’ water fetching on International Women’s Day 2016. It is time to recognize the value of their informal and unpaid work to provide water and to ensure safe water access for all!

WGF at 2016 International Womens Day

Globally women spend more than 40 billion hours yearly carrying water to their homes, walking an average of 30 minutes per trip. The informal and unpaid provision of water put women’s and girl’s health and security at risk. Yet, water fetching is often not recognised in economic and political discussions about work in the water sector.

As two out of five households still have to manually bring water for drinking and other daily needs women’s and girls’ possibilities to get education and participate in work that generate an income are restricted. Consequently, water fetching is not only negative for the household budget; it is also hampers society economic development and corrodes the well-being and life quality of millions of women, girls, men and boys. Even so, the knowledge about the impacts of water fetching is poor and more global data and in-depth studies are needed.

UNDP Water Governance Facility at SIWI and ILO are putting the spotlight on women’s water work this International Women’s Day by sharing some of the first results from their joint meta-study on water fetching globally.

Let us recognise the full value of women’s work in water, and continue promoting safe, reliable and convenient access to water for all!