Australia is in the grips of a massive heatwave, which is engulfing the majority of our country. With it comes the usual threat of heat exhaustion and the resulting increase in potential drownings as people flock to our beaches, waterways and swimming pools for respite. Total fire bans have been put in place across three states, and we are extremely grateful for the brave volunteer bush fire brigade workers, who sacrifice so much to keep other people and their properties safe.

Thinking about how vital water is at a time such as this, it made me think back to some research I did about water and it’s importance for survival in many of the developing nations, especially throughout the African continent. There was a report which was presented in August 2016 at the World Water Week by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). What this report showed, was how water is a serious issue for the advancement of women throughout the world.

It was revealed that a lack of access to running water has a direct effect on women. Where access to water is restricted, the job disproportionately falls on women and girls to go and find and retrieve it for the family. It is estimated that as much as 200 Million hours or more than 22,800 years, everyday is spent finding this life-giving resource for their family.

“It would be as if a women 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 about how much women could have achieved in that time.” UNICEF report 29/8/2016.

The UN estimates that 29% of the population in the sub Saharan Africa region, have what would be considered improved water conditions, that is to have a water source which is 30 minutes or more away! It is clear too see that when the job of water retrieval falls almost always on women and girls, that this severely restricts their ability to attend school, get a paid job, do any kind of further study or effort in order to change the destiny of themselves or their family.

We can therefore see that access to water is indeed a women’s rights issue. In order to change the opportunities available to women and girls, so that they are able to share their unique gifts, intelligence and talents with the world to make it a better place, they desperately need access to running water. There was recently an amazing invention, where a barrel which could be filled with water, which had a handle attached to it not unlike a lawnmower and allowed a person to push large amounts of water from the source back to the village. This one life changing invention has made it easier to get larger amounts of water and to bring it back in much quicker time, and to not be so physically damaging to those carrying the water.

However just one tap with running water in every village, would allow girls to collect water for the household and still attend school.

Today In Sydney, in the outer western suburb of Penrith, it was the hottest place on the planet at 47.3 degrees Fahrenheit , which is 116.6 degrees Celsius for our American readers! As we drink water to stay hydrated and swim in it to stay cool I want you to take a moment to ponder this situation that affects so many of our fellow women. If anybody wants to do something to help the progression of millions of women worldwide, it would be to donate money to charities who directly put running water taps into villages.

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