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The Full Story

Our Why

Her2O is an international 501(c)3 nonprofit serving both women and men in the water and sanitation sector.

We see the differences in access to water, sanitation and hygiene, how this impacts individuals and communities, and how management of these resources varies when both men and women are involved.


We understand how women and men can function differently at work, and know that diverse teams out-perform in every aspect. Therefore, our focus is on recruiting, integrating, supporting and retaining women, and creating a gender

equitable sector. We do this by removing barriers and creating opportunities. 

Why water & sanitation

Water is a limited resource.  As the global population continues to grow at an ever-increasing rate, the demand for water and sanitation also increases. Effective and efficient water and sanitation management are imperative to safeguard global water sustainability and avert water crisis.

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Water & Sanitation Stats

  • An estimated 2.2 billion people need access to safely managed drinking water, including 884 million currently without basic drinking water services.

  • An estimated 4.2 billion people need access to safely managed sanitation.

  • An estimated 3 billion people need access to basic handwashing facilities.

  • Contaminated water can transmit diseases such diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and polio. Contaminated drinking water is estimated to cause 485 000 diarrheal deaths each year. (1)

  • Water, sanitation, and hygiene has the potential to prevent at least 9% of the global disease burden and 6% of global deaths. (2)

  • The impact of clean water technologies on public health in the U.S. is estimated to have had a rate of return of 23 to 1 for investments in water filtration and chlorination during the first half of the 20th century. (3)

  • Water and sanitation interventions have demonstrated economic benefits ranging from $5 to $46 per $1 invested. (4)

  • By 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas. (1)

  • In least developed countries, 22% of health care facilities have no water service, 21% no sanitation service, and 22% no waste management service. (1)

Why women

While the water and sanitation sector continues to be a male-dominated industry, women’s involvement in the management of water and sanitation is critical to water sustainability. Women are the primary users of water. They offer a unique perspective on water and sanitation challenges. Research indicates that when women are involved in water projects, the effectiveness of the project is 6-7 times higher than when women are not involved. Further, we don't have enough interested men to satisfy the industry’s future workforce demands. Women can fill this workforce gap.

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Women in Water & Sanitation Stats

  • Women and girls are responsible for water collection in 8 out of 10 households with water off premises. (5)

  • Women spend 200 million hours every day fetching water, and 266 million hours every day finding a place to relieve themselves. (6)

  • Cultural norms make it unacceptable for women to be seen defecating, forcing women to leave home before dawn or after nightfall to maintain privacy

  • Waiting until dark to defecate and urinate in the open causes women to drink less during the day, resulting in health problems including urinary tract infections.

  • Millions of women across the world experience shame, insecurity, and physical discomfort due to inadequate access to safe, hygienic and private sanitation facilities. 

  • Latrine designs in many parts of the world, especially for primary and secondary schools, are primarily designed and constructed by males, which leads to latrines which are not sensitive to the special needs of girls, which results in girls staying away when they are menstruating.

  • 1 million deaths each year are associated with unclean births. (7)

  • Water projects that include women are 6-7 times more effective than projects that do not include women. (8)

  • Fewer than 50 countries have laws or policies that specifically mention women’s participation for rural sanitation or water resources management. (9)

  • Estimates of the percentage of women in the water and sanitation sector workforce globally vary from 4-18%.


  1. World Health Organization. (2019). Drinking Water - Key Facts.

  2. Prüss-Üstün, Annette & World Health Organization. (‎2008)‎. Safer water, better health : costs, benefits and sustainability of interventions to protect and promote health. / Annette Prüss-Üstün … [‎et al]‎. World Health Organization. icon

  3. Cutler, D., & Miller, G. (2005). The Role of Public Health Improvements in Health Advances: The Twentieth-Century United States. Demography, 42(1), 1-22. Retrieved February 2, 2022, from icon

  4. Hutton, G., Haller, L., & Bartram, J. (2007). Global cost-benefit analysis of water supply and sanitation interventions. Journal of water and health, 5(4), 481–502. icon

  5. Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG baselines. Geneva: World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.


  7. Water, sanitation and hygiene in health care facilities: practical steps to achieve universal access. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2019. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.

  8. Ibid.

  9. UN-Water, 2021: Summary Progress Update 2021 – SDG 6 – water and sanitation for all. Version: July 2021. Geneva, Switzerland.

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