Journal Article

Ensuring Rights to Water and Sanitation for Women and Girls

Published on 1 January 2013

Access to water and sanitation for all is central to achieving global justice for poor women and men. Even though water and sanitation have been the focus of international development at least since the 1970s, the global aid architecture is straining to solve what appears on the surface a simple problem: how to provide water and sanitation to all.

780 million people still lack access to drinking water, and goals on sanitation remain seriously off track with 2.5 billion people lacking access to improved sanitation. In July 2010, the General Assembly declared the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a universal human right, which was further affirmed by the UN Human Rights Council.

This paper outlines achievements and challenges in achieving the water and sanitation MDG and the gender implications. It discusses lessons learned and good practices, and addresses the measures that need to be taken in order to ensure that rights to water and sanitation are realised for women and girls.


Lyla Mehta

Professorial Fellow

Publication details

published by
United Nations
Mehta, Lyla


Related content


Moving towards responsible gold mining in Geita, Tanzania

26 April 2024