In rural India, women play a central role in the provision, management and safeguarding of water resources. More often than not, the ultimate victim of rural poverty is the female. They are therefore engaged in even greater menial work than their spouses and are often engaged in subsistence occupations to eke out a meager living. Here we present 10 facts about Indian rural women and water.
1. Women and children fetch the majority of water for household uses in rural areas. Often this keeps them from attending school or working at a job.
2. The average distance that women and children walk for water is six kilometres (3.7 miles).
3. Women carry heavy loads of water (about 20 litres) on their heads in some locations. This causes severe damage to the neck and spine over time.
4. Women make most household water and sanitation decisions, but they are rarely invited to be involved in planning or management of water and sanitation systems. fetch the majority of water for household uses in rural areas. Often this keeps them from attending school or working at a job.
5. Water projects that involve women in planning and management are proven more likely to succeed.
6. In India, women’s land rights are not recognised, and they are unable to access water for agricultural uses.
7. On average, women work twice as long as men for unpaid work (housework, cleaning, cooking, washing, etc.).
8. Women are primary caretakers of the millions of children that fall ill each year from water-related illnesses. This reduces time spent working or on education.
9. For mothers and pregnant women, an improved water supply and proper water storage is essential to protect lives and ensure good health.
10. Women are under-represented in water and sanitation sector posts with men having most jobs in this field.