For Her It’s the Big Issue – Putting Women at the Centre of Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene – Evidence Report

Lack of basic sanitation and safe water is an acute problem for all who live in poor and overcrowded urban slums and rural areas of the developing world. For women and girls it presents unique problems.This report is a collection of evidence, brief examples highlighting the effect and benefits of placing women at the core of planning, implementation and operations of WASH programmes. The experiences also show how women’s empowerment and the improvement of water supply, sanitation facilities and hygiene practice are inextricably linked. One cannot be successfully achieved without the other.

General Information
Authors: WSSCC/Gender and Water Alliance (GWA)/Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)/United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) Publication Date: 2006 Publisher: WSSCC No. of Pages: 36

Related Resources

First National Training of Trainers on Menstrual Hygiene Management – Kenya


In order to break the silence on menstruation and empower government officials with the knowledge and skills on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM), WSSCC, in collaboration with the Kenyan Ministry of Health, UNICEF and other partners held a six-day Training of Trainers(ToT) in Naivasha from 28 July to 3 August. Here is a full report of the workshop.

Faire face à la réalité saignante: L’hygiène menstruelle comme priorité pour la réalisation de l’égalité des genres


Une menstruation régulière est un signe de santé et de fécondité chez une femme. Pourtant, les menstruations sont entourées d’un halo de honte, de secret, d’embarras, de peur, d’humiliation, de silence, de tabou et de stigmatisation. Liées à ce tabou, de nombreuses normes culturelles et religieuses, souvent fondées sur des postulats patriarcaux, cherchent à empêcher tout contact avec les femmes et les filles en période de menstruation afin d'éviter une « contamination » ou de « devenir impur ». De ce fait, les femmes et les filles sont censées cacher leur menstruation et faire beaucoup d’efforts pour la dissimuler. Originalement publié en anglais en Cardozo Journal of Law and Gender 2015 (21/1), 1-37, cet article explore les défis en termes d’hygiène menstruelle au niveau pratique et politique. Il examine la position de l’hygiène menstruelle dans le cadre des droits humains, notamment concernant l’égalité des genres, ainsi que la manière dont elle peut se définir en termes de droit humains et la manière dont l’utilisation du cadre des droits humains et l’égalité de fait pourraient contribuer à donner une plus grande visibilité à l’hygiène menstruelle et à prioriser l’élaboration de stratégies et de solutions appropriées.Regular menstruation signals a woman’s health and fertility. Yet, menstruation is surrounded by shame, secrecy, embarrassment, fear, humiliation, silence, taboo, and stigma. Linked to this taboo, many cultural and religious norms often grounded in patriarchal assumptions seek to prevent contact with menstruating women and girls in order to avoid ‘contamination’ or ‘becoming impure’. Against this background, this article explores challenges for menstrual hygiene at the practical and policy level. It examines how menstrual hygiene is situated in the human rights framework, in particular gender equality, how menstrual hygiene can be defined in human rights terms and how using the framework of human rights and substantive equality may contribute to giving menstrual hygiene greater visibility and prioritizing the development of appropriate strategies and solutions.

Menstrual Hygiene Management, SDGs and the Private Sector – Women Deliver 2016 Session Highlights Report


This cross-cutting session hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, WSSCC, and SCA highlighted the issue of Menstrual Hygiene Management and the importance of breaking taboos and fighting stigma through evidence-based approaches to unlock multiple benefits for women and girls. The session also promoted detailed discussions on the roles and responsibilities each of us has to women and girls everywhere, regardless of our sector, occupation or geography. The session brought together experts from WASH, Human Rights, Education, Health and the private sector to share lessons and successes in policy and practice, with a specific focus on how multi-sectoral partnerships can collaborate to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.