Women in Water

Women are essential for the water and sanitation development in communities. They bring their expertise and considerations while managing to make many processes much more inclusive. This month we celebrate International Women’s Day and World Water Day by highlighting women in our organisation and the impact they have in their communities by highlighting some of the work that our members have done in the sector.

Carla Toranzo

“Women play an essential role in promoting water, which in turn contributes to peace and security. We are already advocating and working for universal access to water and sanitation. Closing these gaps will bring sustainable peace to all.”

Pedi Obani

“It isn’t necessarily because women should bear the burden of sustaining water cooperation and preventing conflict. Women are a part of the society, and should be recognised in water governance, peacebuilding and security initiatives, because it is the right and the just thing to do.”

Mercedes Castro

“When we think about women creating an environment of peace, we logically relate it to well-being, security, and it seems essential to me that we have equality in the enjoyment of basic services such as water and sanitation, education, health, and others.”

Menstrual Health

This month we celebrated women in the water and sanitation sector. Inga Winkler, an associate professor in human rights at the Central European University in Vienna and member of our Expert Committee, presented her work on Menstrual Health. She discussed how there is a need to promote more conversations on menstrual health, and that it is not enough to focus solely on hygiene needs. Instead the discussions should encompass a broader understanding of the menstrual cycle and there is a need to address the underlying stigma that many societies still have on this topic.

“Menstrual Health: a state of complete physical mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in relation to menstrual cycle.”

Inga exposed how countries are starting to address this topic. It is not enough to teach girls how to use pads or tampons, and the messaging used in such efforts should not be about concealing and hiding menstruation. If menstrual health is understood as a matter of human dignity, this should be linked to  bodily autonomy rather than bodily control. Women and girls and anyone who menstruates should be able to choose the products they want to use, they should be able to access information, make choices about their body, and decide which activities they want to engage in or not.

This year, HR2W will focus its governance research on menstrual health. We hope to continue this research and help countries advance their policy and legislation on the matter.

Are you interested in learning more about this topic: click here.