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WATER SCARCITY AND THE BURDEN ON WOMEN IN INDIA



  Jul 10, 2024

WATER SCARCITY AND THE BURDEN ON WOMEN IN INDIA



Fetching drinking water is a grueling daily routine for millions of women in India. Every day, women walk miles, balancing plastic or earthen pots on their heads and carrying buckets to manage the household water stock.

Why is fetching water a daily struggle for women in India?

Women often travel long distances to reach the nearest reliable water sources, which can take four to five hours each day. The water is usually dirty, requiring additional effort to make it usable.

How does water scarcity impact women’s health?

The daily effort of carrying heavy pots leads to constant back and neck pain, fatigue, and weakness.

How does fetching water affect women’s economic opportunities?

The time spent fetching water prevents women from taking up paid work. Even if they wish to find work, the demanding schedule makes it difficult to commit to jobs.

What is the global perspective on water collection?

A 2023 report by WHO and UNICEF states that 1.8 billion people worldwide collect drinking water from off-premises sources, with women and girls primarily responsible in seven out of ten households.

How does this responsibility hinder economic growth in India?

The need to secure drinking water limits women’s ability to engage in paid activities, hindering their financial independence and contributing to a significant loss in potential economic growth.

What is the estimated contribution of unpaid women’s labor to the Indian economy?

The total contribution of unpaid women’s work is estimated to be around 22.7 billion rupees, accounting for almost 7.5% of India’s total GDP.

How much time do Indian women spend fetching water annually?

It is estimated that Indian women spend 150 million workdays each year fetching water.

What efforts are being made to improve water infrastructure in India?

The government is working to improve water infrastructure and has provided piped water to almost 74% of rural households by January 2024.

How has access to piped water changed lives?

For those who now have piped water, the change has been life-changing, significantly reducing the time and effort spent fetching water.

What is the situation in areas still lacking access to tap water?

Many regions still lack access to tap water, and women continue to spend a significant part of their day finding and collecting water, impacting their quality of life and economic opportunities.




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