CSW: Commission on the Status of Women

Topic A: Water Scarcity and Its Effects on Women

Currently, nearly 40% of the world lacks access to sanitary sources of clean drinking water. In environments with unequal social and cultural norms, women and children are exposed to more water-borne illnesses despite having access to fewer resources for prevention and care. Furthermore, many countries rely on women and girls specifically for water collection and household sanitation. Therefore, water scarcity is a gendered issue that disproportionately affects women. As women and girls are required to spend more time on tasks like carrying water, education becomes a less important priority for them among families and the community. The importance of involving both women and men in the management of water and sanitation has been recognized at the global level, starting with the 1977 United Nations Water Conference at Mar del Plata, the International Drinking Water and Sanitation Decade (1981-1990), the International Conference on Water and the Environment in Dublin in 1992, and most recently, the 6th Sustainable Development Goal. Moreover, as gender equality and poverty have become essential elements of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, water sanitation has come to represent an intersection of several goals. Therefore, water scarcity is an issue on which the CSW must take swift action, as solutions have the potential to drastically improve life for the global female population.

Topic B: Young Women’s Access to Education in Developing States

Girls with little or no education are far more likely than their better-educated peers to be married as children, suffer domestic violence, live in poverty, and lack input on household spending or their own healthcare. Clearly, education has the power to change the lives of young girls. Globally, of women whose highest education level is some primary school, 65% are married as children, lack control over household resources, and condone domestic violence. By contrast, of women who complete high school, only 5% fall into the same categories. Furthermore, one additional year of schooling for girls reduces the probability of child mortality by 5-10%; an extra year in primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10-20%; and an extra year of secondary education increases wages by 15-25%. Of course, these are just a sampling of facts; however, they show just how crucial it is to address the issue of women’s access to education in order to ensure a positive trajectory of the world’s economic and societal development.

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