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Accelerate Access to Resources – Land, Clean Energy, Water, and Sanitation

Improve girls’ and women’s access to resources ― land, clean energy, water, and sanitation ― and they will be healthier, wealthier, and safer.

When girls and women endure restricted access to resources such as land, energy, and water and sanitation, there are far-reaching implications. These can affect their health, education, housing, and livelihoods. Land is an important source of income and security for women in times of hardship. Homes equipped with reliable energy free girls and women from the burden of fuel collection. Sanitation and water facilities reduce exposure to violence and improve overall health.

5 Hours
Women and children spend up to 5 hours per day gathering fuel for household needs.
200 Million
Globally, girls and women spend up to 200 million hours per day fetching water.
<20%
Worldwide, less than 20% of agricultural land is held by women.
$4.3
Globally, for every $1 invested in water and sanitation, there is a $4.3 return in the form of reduced healthcare costs.

Investing in girls and women creates a ripple effect that yields multiple benefits, not only for individual women, but also for families, communities, and countries. When women have secure land rights, their earning can increase significantly, impacting their ability to open bank accounts, save money, build credit, and claim leadership roles. Solutions focused on access to water, sanitation, and household energy can better engage half the population and break the cycle of poverty.

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  • Engage women in efforts to advance universal access to affordable, safe, and sustainable sources of clean energy, including clean cookstoves, throughout homes and communities.
  • Establish clear legal and regulatory frameworks and gender-disaggregated data-gathering measures to guarantee women’s secure rights to land, including the right to inherit, own, access, control, and participate in land governance.
  • Improve safe access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), and work with communities and schools (rural and urban) to become open, defecation free, and “girl-friendly.”
  • Ensure schools have adequate WASH facilities and supplies and provide education on menstrual health and hygiene management.
  • Focus efforts toward more integrated, gender-centered design to strengthen access to natural resources, land, water, sanitation, and affordable, clean energy.
  • Invest in research and program evaluations to better understand the links between cookstove and/or clean energy interventions and prevention of gender-based violence, particularly in humanitarian settings.
  • Support women’s development of, access to, ownership of, benefit from, and inheritance of assets, such as land, productive resources, capital, and technology.
  • Undertake gender-responsive and women-led resource and land management initiatives and provide strong legal and socially legitimate land tenure rights for women.
Explore the Policy Brief
The Empowering Role of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

The Empowering Role of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Women’s leadership in water and sanitation is critical. This is recognized, and is improving, but gaps in decision making power often exist in roles from water committees to technical operations and maintenance. WaterAid explores the solutions and impact that women’s leadership in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) will have on gender equality within the home and community.

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