SDG-6 commits to achieving universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water and adequate sanitation and hygiene for all, but also to improve both water quality (by reducing pollution) and increase water-use efficiency across all sectors.
For women in general, inadequate water and sanitation supplies pose many additional burdens. UN Women found that in a single day in many sub-Saharan African countries women spend 16 million hours collecting water. Fulfilling this duty, girls and women often have to travel long distances to either find clean water or to collect fuel to boil unsafe water. This keeps them from being able to dedicate more time to learning or earning money. A lack of separate sanitation facilities for girls in school can be a major reason for parents keeping their daughters at home anyway, especially when they start menstruating.
Ensuring women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life will therefore act as a tremendous catalyst for SDG-5: Women’s motivation to achieve change here is very high because they and their daughters will be the ones who will benefit most.