One out of three women around the world lack access to safe toilets. As a result they face disease, shame and potential violence when they seek a place to defecate.
A staggering 1.25 billion women and girls would enjoy greater health and increased safety with improved sanitation. Evidence also shows safe and clean toilets encourage girls to stay in school.
We have a moral imperative to end open defecation and a duty to ensure women and girls are not at risk of assault and rape simply because they lack a sanitation facility. That is why the theme for this year’s World Toilet Day focuses on “Equality, Dignity and the Link Between Gender-Based Violence and Sanitation.”
Addressing the sanitation challenge requires a global partnership. This is especially crucial as countries work to formulate a sustainable development agenda for the period beyond the year 2015. Meeting the goal of sanitation for all will involve targeted policies, increased financing, and comprehensive planning underpinned by strong political will. Communities must be supported as they strive to become open defecation-free. Advocacy efforts must step up and taboos must be broken. These are the objectives of the UN Call to Action on Sanitation to mobilize global, national and community efforts to improve hygiene, change social norms and eliminate open defecation by 2025.
On World Toilet Day let us spare no effort to bring equality, dignity and safety to women and girls around the world.
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