For girls and women globally, access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) is critical for their sexual and reproductive health and for gender equality. Girls’ inability to manage their menstrual health, compromises their ability to complete their educations and navigate other aspects of their lives. Lack of access to clean water can have significant impacts on women’s and girls’ health, including their reproductive health, and contributes to maternal mortality and morbidity. Where clean water is not easily accessible, women and girls bear a disproportionate burden collecting water for themselves and their families, with consequences for their health and safety. When all of these factors are taken into account, women and girls are both the most likely to be exposed to unsafe water and to bear the consequences of a lack of access to clean water, adequate sanitation, and wastewater management. Without addressing these linkages, governments’ ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals will fall short.
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