Water and sanitation

water & san

The right to social security enshrined under Article 9 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights encompasses the right to access and maintain social security or other benefits in order to be able to secure water and sanitation (among other necessary goods) and to realise the rights of children and adult dependents (CESCR, General Comment 19 para f18). More recently, the 2010 United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 64/292 recognizing the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights.

Photo credit: “IMG_0533” by USAID U.S. Agency for International Development (CCBY 2.0 via Flickr).


 

Expert Commentaries

Poor Access to WASH: a barrier for women in the workplace

On 19 November, we mark World Toilet Day and highlight the staggering fact that 2.4 billion people – one third of the world’s population – still live without access to proper sanitation. What does this mean for women in the workplace? Poor access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) persists despite the United Nations General […]

Mutual Reinforcement of the Human Right to Social Protection and the Human Right to Water and Sanitation

The rights to social protection and water and sanitation can and should be mutually reinforcing, particularly if the linkages are made explicit. Such linkages include both consideration of access to water and sanitation in the design of social protection systems, as well as explicit recognition of the human right to water and sanitation in legislation, […]

Resources

Towards Gender Equality through Sanitation Access

This discussion paper reviews the extensive literature on sanitation to show that inadequate access to this basic service prevents the realization of a range of human rights and of gender equality. We recognize that “dignity” is a highly culture- and gender-specific term; we therefore argue that sanitation for all—sanitation that serves all genders equally—must be […]

Gestion de l’Hygiène Menstruelle: Comportements et Pratiques dans la Région de Louga, Sénégal

Le présent rapport permet d’examiner différentes questions : de la non-revendication des droits et des services par les femmes – en raison du silence et de la stigmatisation qui entoure les menstruations – à la maitrise de l’hygiène menstruelle et à la gestion des déchets dans la région de Louga au Sénégal.

Sanitation Law and Policy in India

Most comprehensive work on sanitation in India. Provides an overview of the existing legal as well as policy instruments related to sanitation in India. Fills the existing gap, both in knowledge and policy instruments, defining sanitation in India. Highlights the importance, complexity, and fragmented nature of the legal and policy frameworks that inform the sanitation […]

Gender Disparities in Water, Sanitation and Global Health

Celebrating World Water Day, The Lancet Editors1 highlighted the gains made towards Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7c, “to halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation”, and noted UN-Water’s call for sustainable water management in view of future increases in demand and shortfalls in supply. […]

Menstrual Hygiene Practices, WASH Access and the Risk of Urogenital Infection in Women from Odisha, India

Menstrual hygiene management (MHM) practices vary worldwide and depend on the individual’s socioeconomic status, personal preferences, local traditions and beliefs, and access to water and sanitation resources. MHM practices can be particularly unhygienic and inconvenient for girls and women in poorer settings. Little is known about whether unhygienic MHM practices increase a woman’s exposure to […]

Psychosocial Stress Associated with Sanitation Practices: Experiences of women in a rural community in India

This study examined sources of psychosocial stress related to the use of toilet facilities or open defecation by women and adolescent girls at home, public places, workplaces and in schools in a rural community in Pune, India. The mixed methods approach included focus group discussions among women, key informant interviews, free listing and a community […]

Risk of Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes among Women Practicing Poor Sanitation in Rural India: A population-based prospective cohort study

The importance of maternal sanitation behaviour during pregnancy for birth outcomes remains unclear. Poor sanitation practices can promote infection and induce stress during pregnancy and may contribute to adverse pregnancy outcomes (APOs). We aimed to assess whether poor sanitation practices were associated with increased risk of APOs such as preterm birth and low birth weight […]

Sanitation-Related Psychosocial Stress: A grounded theory study of women across the life-course in Odisha, India

While sanitation interventions have focused primarily on child health, women’s unique health risks from inadequate sanitation are gaining recognition as a priority issue. This study examines the range of sanitation-related psychosocial stressors during routine sanitation practices in Odisha, India. Between August 2013 and March 2014, we conducted in-depth interviews with 56 women in four life […]

Menstrual Hygiene Management: Behaviour and practices in Kedougou Region, Senegal

A report examining menstruation and its management from the perspective of women and girls in the Kedougou Region of Senegal. These range from an inability to exercise their rights and access services due to the silence and stigma that surround menstruation, to poor menstrual hygiene practices and waste management.   Le présent rapport permet d’examiner […]

No Relief

This is a short multi-media piece that highlights the devastating impact of India’s sanitation crisis on women. It was produced in support of a 2014 research study called Sanitation Vulnerability: Women’s stress and struggles for violence-free sanitation.