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How the Drudgery of Getting Water Shapes Women's Lives in Low-income Urban Communities

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  • Crow, Ben D
  • McPike, Jamie

Abstract

Global statistics suggest that people living in urban areas are more likely than those in rural areas to have access to “improved water sources†. Women do most of the work of water collection in low-income urban areas, as they do in rural areas. In this review of the literature on access to water and women’s work in low-income urban areas of the global south, we ï¬ nd that women’s lives and income-generating opportunities in poor urban communities are profoundly shaped by their inadequate access to water. We identify the main modes of access to water and their possible infl uence on women’s lives. Then, we examine descriptions of women’s lives and the range of difï¬ culties they face in collecting water (time of access, uncertainty and quality of supply, and costs). We describe some of the advantages (health, improved domestic work, livelihood opportunities, education, and gender relations) reported when communities gain access to safe water at the household level. We conclude that the global ï¬ gures on improved access to water in urban areas focus only on the technology of access, overlooking social obstacles like the collection time and cost of access, and thus obscuring the wide-ranging social advantages of household water connections.

Suggested Citation

  • Crow, Ben D & McPike, Jamie, 2009. "How the Drudgery of Getting Water Shapes Women's Lives in Low-income Urban Communities," Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, Working Paper Series qt9jk1s9g4, Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, UC Santa Cruz.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:glinre:qt9jk1s9g4
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    1. Ben Crow, 2007. "Erratum: Bare knuckle and better technics: trajectories of access to safe water in history and in the global south," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(5), pages 721-721.
    2. David Cutler & Grant Miller, 2005. "The role of public health improvements in health advances: The twentieth-century United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 42(1), pages 1-22, February.
    3. Blackden, Mark & Wodon, Quentin, 2006. "Gender, Time Use, and Poverty: Introduction," MPRA Paper 11080, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Crow, Ben, 2007. "Bare knuckle and better technics: trajectories of access to safe water in history and in the global south," Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, Working Paper Series qt217574xt, Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, UC Santa Cruz.
    5. Ben Crow, 2007. "Bare knuckle and better technics: trajectories of access to safe water in history and in the global south," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(1), pages 83-98.
    6. Salway, Sarah & Rahman, Shahana & Jesmin, Sonia, 2003. "A Profile of Women's Work Participation Among the Urban Poor of Dhaka," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 881-901, May.
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    1. repec:eee:juipol:v:51:y:2018:i:c:p:41-50 is not listed on IDEAS

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