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Women's Electoral Politics
UN Women's Watch
Global Gag Rule
Martha Nussbaum
Women's Well-being

Click Here to view: Women and Water

The Water Crisis

I used research from two different resources: The African Medical and Research Foundation ( and The World Water Council ( I tried to focus in on learning statistics globally and then focusing in on several African countries. I did not know a lot about the global water crisis but as I learned more about it is seems that the crisis is heavily affected by our increased population which leads to more waste water than any other time in history. The world population has increased 3 fold in the 20th century and is predicted to increase another 40 or 50% in the next century.

When I found the following chart it was made clear that our agricultural need for water is using most of the consumption of water. The article stated that we as a population need to understand that the amount of water withdrawn (which means diverted from rivers and streams) and the actual water consumed by the sector.

*More than 1 out of 6 people lack access to safe drinking water = 1.1 billion people.

*Nearly 2.4 billion people do not have adequate sanitation.

*More than 2 out of 6 lack adequate sanitation = 2.6 billion people. (Estimation for 2002, by the WHO/UNICEF JMP, 2004).

*3900 children die every day from water borne diseases (WHO 2004).

*1.8 million people die every year from diarrhoeal diseases, including 90 % of children under 5

These statistics are only for countries that have water issues already, it does not include counties like the United States or European countries. Some of the diseases that children and/or older people can die of everyday: cholera, typhoid, malaria, yellow fever, filariasis, river blindness, sleeping sickness, guinea worm, bilharzia, trachoma and scabies.

Numerous fundamental human rights can not be fully realized without water: This is interesting because it goes back to Nussbaum's Capabilities theory when talking about the "rights" of a women's wellbeing. This document found on the World Water Council website refers to the United Nation's goals to the Millenium Goals to halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation

Right to life: Without water, no life can be sustained.

Right to food: Water is essential for farming: almost 70% of all mobilised freshwater is used for agriculture1 and it is estimated that more than one third of global food production is based on irrigation.

Right to self-determination: this right also includes the right of all people to manage their own resources and is thus connected to a right to water

Right to adequate standard of living, can not be realized without a secure access to water

Right to housing: As the CESCR stated "the right to adequate housing should have sustainable access to natural and common resources, safe drinking water,...sanitation and washing facilities".

Right to education: The lack of proper supply of water forces children to walk long distances, often several times a day - thus missing school - to provide their families with water.

Right to take part in cultural life: The destruction, expropriation or pollution of water-related cultural sites represents a failure to take adequate steps to safeguard the cultural identity of various ethnic groups.

So, the right to water is indispensable for leading a life in human dignity, but often denied in developing as well as developed countries.

mtappy/WMST 5050