Investments in health, education and empowerment of 10-year-old girls can triple a girl’s lifetime income. This and 9 other facts about adolescent girls are highlighted in this United Nations Population Fund Report summary. The full report on the State of World Population 2016 emphasizes that the welfare of these girls will have an enabling impact on the Sustainable Development Goals unanimously adopted by the United Nations in 2015.
In the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, our team and partners at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have a commitment to developing sanitation solutions for men and women, girls and boys, however in many parts of the developing world that lack access to safe and effective sanitation, gender discrimination disproportionately impacts women and girls. We believe that by focusing on the needs of adolescent girls, empowering them with better options, a virtuous cycle will be created that improves overall quality of life for girls, their families, and generations to come.
Below is a short video about a 12-year-old girl in India, highlighting the importance of including women and girls directly in the product design, education and business aspects of providing sanitation solutions.
RTI International recently released a brief documenting six policies and missions related to urban sanitation in India while also drawing attention to the current inadequacies in recognizing gender differences and needs when promoting improved sanitation.
From the outset our toilet has been focused on both male and female needs, knowing that access to safe and adequate sanitation is a right to all human beings.
“As plans for the Swachh Bharat Mission are solidifed and monitoring metrics are defined, sanitation and gender are essential elements to be written in consistently and thoughtfully to promote inclusive solutions to India’s sanitation challenge.”
This brief from RTI focuses on this mission, offering recommendations and additional methods with the aim to more effectively address the needs of women while working towards closing the sanitation gap.
You can read the brief in it’s entirety right here.
A recent article from U.S. National Public Radio (NPR) followed global Menstrual Hygiene Day (which occurred May 28), and supports our WASH advocacy efforts aimed at confronting the taboos and social restrictions placed on menstruating girls and women. In addition, the article also stresses the bringing of investments and innovation to mainstreaming MHM into sanitation solutions.
“Across the developing world, tens of millions of girls face major difficulties managing their monthly period. According to UNICEF, more than half the schools in the poorest countries lack private toilets. And unlike teenage girls in well-off countries, many in the developing world can’t afford (or even find) tampons and pads.”
“We’re not talking about rocket ships; we’re talking about sanitary pads,” she says. “Yet they both have the same effect. They take you places.”
You can read the entire article on npr.org by clicking right here.
May 28 is global menstrual hygiene day. Let us honor our mothers, daughters, sisters – and all women by acknowledging, recognizing and speaking about menstruation.
Safe and effective menstrual hygiene management depends on adequate sanitation. Sanitation that is safe, hygienic, and private.
Information is key to help us achieve this goal. Information will help increase knowledge, build respect, and reduce negative perceptions. Water and sanitation programming needs to make menstrual hygiene management (MHM) a central part of our work. MHM is an equity, employment, human rights, health, and environmental issue closely linked to sanitation. Menstruation is a natural bodily function, just like defecation and urination. Let us not be ashamed and stigmatize MHM.
The myths and taboos that surround menstrual hygiene make it very difficult for women in our society. MHM is important for many reasons. As the ability to maintain hygiene, it is integral to a woman’s well-being, education access, mobility, employment and dignity.
As part of our global work under the reinvent the toilet program, we are testing strategies to provide safe, private MHM solutions, as well as boost access to products and sanitation services. It is vital for us to recognize, talk about, and address the challenge to integrate MHM into our sanitation work.
Our mothers, daughters, sisters and all women deserve privacy, access, and dignity. Break the silence. This infographic from menstrualhygieneday.org helps highlight “why”:
Sexual violence is endemic throughout the developed and developing world. Recent research work models data from 1 township in South Africa illustrates how improving access to sanitation facilities in urban informal settlements can simultaneously reduce both the number of sexual assaults and the overall cost to society.
Improving access to public toilets in South African urban settlements may reduce both the incidence of sexual assaults by nearly 30% and the overall cost to society, a study by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health and Yale School of Management found. The research was published April 29 in PLOS ONE.
Rights-based and development organizations have increasingly been calling attention to the fact that inadequate local sanitation facilities are a key factor in a woman’s risk for physical or sexual assault. Many women in South Africa must travel out of their homes to public toilets, where they are more vulnerable to attack from sexual predators. This research from South Africa has global implications, as such links between inadequate sanitation and sexual violence have been noted in incidents in many regions, refugee camps, as well as in urban and rural settings.