Work with Water 401
Women must often find
and carry all the water for
their families. Women also
do most of the washing and
cleaning, and are usually the
ones who bathe children. All
of these tasks are important
for a woman’s health and the
health of her family. However,
these same tasks can cause health problems.
Health problems from work with water:
• Women who spend long hours in contact with contaminated
water are exposed to parasites and germs that live in and
near water. These women are more likely to get infected
with bilharzia, guinea worm, the germs that cause river
blindness and cholera, and other parasitic diseases.
• Women who live downstream from a factory or large farms
may be exposed to chemicals in the water. Chemicals can
cause many health problems. For more information, see the
• Water is one of the heaviest things women must carry,
so collecting and carrying it can cause back and neck
problems, as well as other health problems. See page 398.
➤ For information
about how to treat
these infections, see
Where There Is
Clean water helps keep everyone healthy.
All over the world, people are working together
to improve health by organizing
community water projects. But
women are often left out of the
meetings and decisions about
these projects, such as
where to put community
taps, where to dig wells,
and what kind of
system to use.
Women should help take
care of the system used
for the water supply.
If your community does not have
easy access to clean water, work with
others to plan and organize a water
project. If your community already has
a water system, ask for women to be
trained in how to fix and take care of
the system used for the water supply.
➤ If you live
downstream from a
factory that dumps
chemicals into the
water, try to organize
your community to work
for better conditions.
For an example of one
see page 127.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012