This policy briefing, part of the special MDG series, examines how a post 2015 framework can help ensure women and girls rights to water and sanitation. It explores the barriers which continue to prevent women and girls enjoying their basic human rights and looks at how a greater emphasis placed on issues of equity, discrimination, sustainability, politics and local knowledge could help to address these challenges.
Water and sanitation are essential to human wellbeing and broader development progress. A post 2015 framework must recognise this and promote universal access as a central ambition. The wider benefits for women and girls of having access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities are significant. These include a reduction in the occurrences of illness during pregnancy and childbirth, and instances of child and maternal mortality. Safe access can also reduce women and girls’ exposure to violence and rape, and improve their overall life chances as a result of better educational and economic opportunities.