All over the world, fetching water has been documented as primarily a women’s task. Anindita Sarkar, from the University of Delhi, explains that collecting safe water directly impacts women’s health, emotional well-being, and earnings. It is widely considered socially unacceptable for men to fetch water. Sarkar interviewed women who said fetching water is one of their primary responsibilities, and good women are those who perform it well.
If the men in the family were unemployed, dead or absent, or if the parents could not afford to lose paid employment, girls went to collect water. Sometimes even at night. As they waited in line, they were often bullied by adults. They might be late for school or not go at all if they collect water in the morning. The girls were socialized to collect water for their families.
Initiatives are being taken to improve women’s rights. Solvatten is an innovative and environmentally friendly technology for households in the developing world. By combining several well-documented methods of water treatment, Solvatten can provide 10-30 litres of safe drinking water per day, as well as hot water for hygiene and other domestic purposes. Solvatten was developed for families, especially women. Our insight is that high quality, innovative design, and good morals will further women’s rights and win people’s hearts. Understanding aspirations are a powerful motivator of behavior change—everything starts with safe water.