3.4 Women’s empowerment in WASH

You may have noticed the phrase ‘empowering women and girls’ in the explanation of Goal 5 of the SDGs. This is an essential part of the move towards gender equality. Women’s empowerment means giving power to women and girls so they can play a significant role in society. It means women and girls participating actively in socioeconomic and political processes. And it means finding ways to ensure that women are confident, that they are given a voice in society, and their opinions are respected (GADN, 2016). ‘Women’s empowerment is realised when women react to gender discrimination, overcome it and move forward to gain greater control over their own lives’ (MoWA, 2010).

But how do we achieve this goal? There are many activities that can empower women including supporting women’s groups and making sure that women have a chance to discuss WASH issues together so they can have a stronger voice in committees and more influence on decisions. Other ways of moving towards women’s empowerment are:

  • Improve WASH services
  • Challenge traditional gender roles
  • Women role models
  • Improve education
  • Financial support.

Each of these is described in more detail below.

3.3 The context in Ethiopia

3.4.1 Improve WASH services