Every day, millions of women worldwide work for an estimated 200 million hours combined to haul water to their homes. They are on foot, carrying jerry cans of water either by hand or in carts. And the water wells, rivers and lakes are often polluted. Another way to look at those lost hours is that in one, these women work more than all of the employees at Walmart, United Parcel Service, McDonald’s, IBM, Target, and Kroger in one week (estimated from a WHO/UNICEF report and a WSP report).
With all of that time invested, women seem to care about the success of water and sanitation projects. When women fully participate in their community’s water and sanitation improvements, the projects are more sustainable, according to a survey of 88 communities by the World Bank and the IRC International Water and Sanitation (pdf).
For more on the issue, please see water.org’s list of studies and reports.