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From Commodity to Common Good: A Feminist Agenda to Tackle the World’s Water Crisis - Spotlight on SDG Goal 6

  • Ginette Azcona
  • Antra Bhatt
  • Julia Brauchle
  • Guillem Fortuny
  • Summary

The report calls for a holistic approach to water use and water conservation, one that brings together women, water, and nature and recognizes the role of women in their communities as the main collectors, protectors, and managers of water.  

The report reviews the state of gender equality in SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) and demonstrates how a gender lens “can inform and strengthen the discourse around SDG 6 acceleration.” It shows that according to the latest data on the gender-water nexus, “the human rights to water and to sanitation are far from realized for many women and girls globally.” Calling for women’s equal representation in leadership and decision-making, the paper traces linkages between social justice, ecological rights, and women’s rights. 

Highlighting data gaps, the report showcases case studies and examples that reveal women’s role in the global movement to transform Indigenous values and local ecological knowledge into enforceable ecological laws.


The report concludes by presenting a way forward to achieve gender equality and sustainable water and sanitation for all. It makes several evidence-based, action-oriented policy recommendations, including:

  • Enact gender-responsive legal frameworks and institutions to protect and conserve water resources;
  • Reverse unequal and unsustainable production and consumption patterns;
  • Prioritize women and vulnerable populations in climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies;
  • Prioritize safe drinking water and safely managed sanitation and hygiene services in communities, schools, and health centers;
  • Accelerate partnership and cooperation, including through greater financial support; and
  • Invest in gender data to inform water and sanitation policy.
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  • Publisher Name:
    UN Water; WN Women
  • Publisher Place:
    New York