News How does access to water improve equality for women? Around the world, the responsibility and pressure of collecting water, mostly fall on the shoulders of women and girls. Why is that? Nancy Stone, volunteer hydrogeologist and Country Officer for Just a Drop, explains how access to water can improve equality for women: Despite the progress that has been made towards gender equality; women are still generally excluded from economic and political decision-making in the countries where we work. This means that it’s often women who have to carry out the more menial jobs. In the UK, this may take the form of housework or childcare, but in communities that are affected by water scarcity, the additional pressure of collecting water is not just an added chore, it is an act that dominates women’s lives and leaves them little time to do anything else. In fact, women across the world spend 200 million hours every day collecting water. Women also tend to be the main carers, which means that when their family members fall sick from diseases, often linked to drinking unsafe water or poor sanitation, it falls on women to look after them. Just a Drop's safe water, sanitation and hygiene projects have a direct impact on helping to level the playing field; giving women and girls the opportunities to change their lives regardless of their gender. With access to safe water and sanitation, people are healthier, improving their livelihoods. With to safe water closer to home, women can spend their time on more meaningful things, like earning an income. Some of the women in the communities where we’ve worked have opened hairdressing salons, brick making businesses or became farmers. And finally, with access to safe water, sanitation and menstrual health and hygiene training in school, girls can go to school and get the education they deserve.