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Taking women’s 'different' bodily functions into account, particularly menstruation in sanitation provision

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conference contribution
posted on 12.02.2018, 15:11 by Clara Greed
Whilst over two billion people lack adequate toilet provision, water supply, and sanitation, women are particularly badly affected. Women have fewer facilities to start with, but more toileting needs caused by biological differences particularly menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. For example, 50% of school girls in Africa leave school when menstruation starts because of lack of suitable school toilets. Over 50% of the world’s population is urbanized and of those, over 50% of urban dwellers live in shanty towns and unregulated settlements, most of which lack adequate sanitation provision, especially for women and girls travelling by public transport, working away from home, or going to school. Comparisons are made with the toilet situation in Western countries. Toilet provision is one of the last frontiers of gender inequality. Female toilet provision needs to be recognised as a key component of urban planning policy, in order to create sustainable, accessible and equitable cities.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

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  • Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)

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WEDC Conference


GREED, C., 2017. Taking women’s 'different' bodily functions into account, particularly menstruation in sanitation provision. IN: Shaw, R.J. (ed). Local action with international cooperation to improve and sustain water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services: Proceedings of the 40th WEDC International Conference, Loughborough, UK, 24-28 July 2017, Paper 2601, 6pp.


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