Women and girls main water bearers for 1.8 bln people globally: UN report

UNITED NATIONS, United States -- Mainly women and girls get water for the 1.8 billion people living without home water supplies, a new report by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

The report said women and girls aged 15 and older primarily collect water in 7 out of 10 such households. Male members of families are responsible for fetching water in only 3 out of 10 homes.

In most cases, the report said that women and girls make longer journeys to collect it, losing time in education, work and leisure. Fetching water puts women and girls at risk of physical injury and dangers on the way.

The report also showed that more than 500,000 million people still share sanitation facilities with other households, which compromises women's and girls' privacy, dignity and safety. Among 51 countries with available data, women and adolescent girls in the poorest households and those with disabilities are the most likely to lack a private place to wash and change.

The 172-page study, "Progress on household drinking-water, sanitation and hygiene 2000-2022: Special focus on gender," showed that further efforts are needed to ensure that progress on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) contributes toward gender equality.

It is the first in-depth analysis of gender inequalities in countries where national statistics are available, highlighting the risks women and girls face from inadequate access to WASH.

The report also said that about 2.2 billion people still need safely managed drinking water at home, and 3.4 billion people require safely managed sanitation. Around 2 billion people cannot wash their hands with soap and water at home.

However, the study showed some progress toward achieving universal availability to WASH from 2015-2022. It said household access to safely managed drinking water increased from 69 to 73 percent, good sanitation went up from 49 to 57 percent and basic hygiene services increased from 67 to 75 percent.