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As we approach the 10-year countdown to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is clear we are far from achieving SDG 5 on gender equality, and SDG 6 on universal access to water and sanitation. While gender equality and access to safe water and sanitation are often treated as separate issues, they are deeply linked and interdependent.  

This paper argues that to achieve both Goals, the international community must adopt more gender-transformative approaches to water development. Improved data collection at national and sub-national levels is needed; there is also a need for increased opportunities for women’s meaningful participation in water governance. It is essential to address gendered social norms – particularly around unpaid care work.

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