Women and Water

Part of the Water: H2O = Life exhibition.

Water carrying (Africa)
© Digital Vision / AGE Fotostock

Not every woman in the developing world has a life defined by the burden of water carrying. Indeed, in some places women are becoming involved in planning and managing new water and sanitation facilities. Yet it remains true that, in places where water must be carried, women and children often assume this task.

This responsibility creates particular hardship in rural areas, where getting to water sources can involve a long walk. For instance, during the dry season in some regions of rural Africa, water gatherers must sometimes walk 10 kilometers (more than six miles) a day to get water and bring it home.

Mechanical Advantage

In Rajasthan, India, women fill their water containers at a village pump. Pumps can be reliable sources of clean water, but even simple pumps require maintenance. Elsewhere in India, in the provinces of Assam and Uttar Pradesh, for example, work is under way to provide training in pump repair to women. Such skills may help women gain greater control over water for their households.