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Published on: 12/07/2011

Understanding and integrating gender perspectives in water infrastructure projects is central to addressing poverty and gender equality. Men and women have different uses for water, a reflection of their roles in the household and more broadly, the economy. Women face disproportionate challenges in accessing water supply and sanitation services.Women and girls spend more time than men in water collection, a burden that restricts them from participating in other productive activities. Ensuring equitable access to convenient water sources can reduce women’s work load, and help free up time for agriculture, other economic activities, and improve girls’ school attendance.

A new World Bank study on gender and water access [1], suggests that a 15 minute reduction in water collection time increases the proportion of girls attending school in Ghana by 8-12 percent. The authors (Celine Nauges and Jon Strand) based their analysis on four rounds of the Demographic and Health Surveys from Ghana, in 1993-94, 1998-99, 2003 and 2008. Using GPS coordinates; the authors build an artificial panel of clusters, identifying the closest neighbours within each round. On this basis they estimated the relationship between girls’ school attendance and water hauling activity, correcting for potential endogeneity of communities and household characteristics.

These results serve to document some of the multiple and wide benefits to the population of increased tap water access, in African countries and beyond.

[1] Nauges, C. and Strand, J. (2011). Water hauling and girls’ school attendance : some new evidence from Ghana. Download presentation.

Related web site: World Bank – Gender—Water and Women in Kenya


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