“Just imagine: 200 million hours is 8.3 million days, or over 22,800 years,” said UNICEF’s global head of water, sanitation and hygiene Sanjay Wijesekera. “It would be as if a woman started with her empty bucket in the Stone Age and didn’t arrive home with water until 2016. Think how much the world has advanced in that time. Think how much women could have achieved in that time.”
Thirsty? We turn on our tap or head for the cooler for a refreshing cup of cold, clean water. That is a luxury that many women in the world do not have. The world would be different, if that time could be expended differently.
When water is not piped to the home the burden of fetching it falls disproportionately on women and children, especially girls. A study of 24 sub-Saharan countries revealed that when the collection time is more than 30 minutes. An estimated 3.36 million children and 13.54 million adult females were responsible for collection. In Malawi, the UN estimates that women who collected this life liquid spent 54 minutes on average, while men spent only 6 minutes. In Guinea and the United Republic of Tanzania average collection times for women were 20 minutes, double that of men.