Women Lead: the value of women is infinite

A smiling woman is washing her water vessel at a pipe with running water

The value of women is infinite – on International Women’s Day, we are celebrating women and girls as changemakers, innovators and leaders and their tremendous efforts around the world in shaping a more equal future and supporting COVID-19 response and recovery.

Women stand at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis as health care workers, caregivers, policymakers, activists, innovators, entrepreneurs, business leaders and community organisers. The global pandemic has highlighted the disproportionate burdens that women carry and the importance of women’s contributions to decision making. Across the globe and in many partner projects, women are leading organisations, institutions and community groups carrying out effective and inclusive COVID-19 responses through our Water Resources Management (WRM) and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) projects.

Women bear the brunt of problems, ranging from poverty to health to climate change, but they also possess the capabilities, knowledge and talents to solve these problems. That is why gender and social inclusion is embedded across Australia’s development programs.

International Women’s Day (#IWD2021) provides an opportunity to highlight the importance and the value of empowering women to lead through WASH, which can help build resilient communities and deliver more sustainable and effective outcomes in WASH and beyond. Because societies that include women in all aspects of economic, political and cultural life are more likely to be vibrant, inclusive, productive and stable, for everyone. 


Gender equality is crucial for safe access to water

Read our IWD Insight from Bipasha Dutta, World Vision Bangladesh.  


Women, water and climate change are inextricably linked. Clean, safe and accessible water for everyone in the community plays a critical role in addressing poverty and contributing to economic and human development. Cohesive and fair communities are naturally more resilient, including to shocks from a changing climate or disease outbreaks.  

“Women and marginalised people are the most vulnerable to climate change impacts and other crises, and they are therefore in strong positions to contribute to sustainable solutions to these challenges,” says Dr Alison Baker, Water for Women Fund Manager. “We see a very clear link between empowering women and tackling a range of challenges such as COVID-19 and climate change. WASH interventions are an important entry point to gender equality.”

That is why Australia supports inclusive and sustainable water initiatives in Asian and Pacific communities. Through Water for Women, our partners are working to ensure that gender equality and social inclusion is central to our projects and that we ‘Do No Harm.’

From International Women’s Day (8th March) through to World Water Day (22nd March), we will be sharing updates from our partners and projects across the Indo-Pacific region to showcase the value of empowering women to lead.


Happy #IWD!



Header Photo: A woman collecting water for domestic use from a communal tap in Dailekh district, Nepal (Manita Raut / IWMI) 

Gender and socially inclusive Water Resource Management (WRM) and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) is a priority for the Australian Government. We work closely with partner governments, civil society, multilateral partners and the private sector in the Indo-Pacific region to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6) – achieving water and sanitation for all. 

The DFAT Water Section supports water for development through several projects throughout the Indo-Pacific region under two key programs: Water for Women and Australian Water Partnership.

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