Will 2010 be the year that the prime issue facing most women and girls in developing countries earns the recognition and action it deserves?

Water, 884 million people can't just turn on the tap to get some.

Water, toilets and hygiene - there can be nothing more basic than this.

And yet these issues continually slide from the political priority list and lack the funds and action required to change this awful reality, mostly borne by poor women around the globe.

This week UNICEF and the World Health Organization released the latest figures from around the world on how many people there are who can’t just turn on a tap and access safe water – a staggering 884 million people can’t do this, one in eight people sharing the world today.

The situation for toilets is so much worse. 2.6 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation- that means they hide behind buildings, behind trees, along waterways and rivers and beaches, spreading germs and disease wide and far into the water systems they rely on for life. For women and girls this means waking before dawn to find a private place to relieve themselves and then ‘holding on’ all day until nightfall, prisoners of the daylight.

Luckily there’s the chance to change this situation and improve the lives of millions. World Water Day on 22nd March will bring the issue once again to the world’s attention. To mark the day there will be a UN General Assembly debate on water. A few weeks later, the first ever High-Level Meeting on Sanitation and Water with ministers and top officials will be held in Washington DC, hopefully to be attended by our Minister for Foreign Affairs.

This meeting has the potential to really inject new momentum into these issues, and this is what is needed. The figures released last night show that the international target for sanitation will be met 30 years too late, that’s a billion people too late. Over the coming weekend campaigners in 61 countries all around the world will be taking part in a world record attempt to form the World’s Longest Toilet Queue – the queue organized by Lift the Lid and WaterAidin Melbourne will be the first to get going.

Tina Rosenberg, a Pulitzer prize winning journalist from America, nails the issue in her new article in National Geographic “If the millions of women who haul water long distances had a faucet by their door, whole societies could be transformed”. It’s true. And in ways you wouldn’t necessarily have imagined either.

Last week I was in Vanuatu to find out about the changes in women and men’s lives from improving water supply and toilets. We found out that since having a tap at their doorstep, women were no longer suffering from violence and conflicts with their husbands. In their previous life of hardship, collecting water from the valley floor several hours away was a continual daily burden, and when women asked for help with this heavy task, things commonly degenerated to violence and in the Bislama language ‘kilim’ or hitting.

At Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS, we have been working with International Women’s Development Agency to uncover stories like this from the Pacific and bring to people’s attention how issues of equality between women and men are closely interlinked with the issue of lack of water, toilets and hygiene.

The benefits you might expect like reduced heavy work for women and healthier families are widespread. But what is more intriguing, is that women’s strong motivation to assist and make projects like this happen also earns them respect in their communities, and can give them the chance to have input to decision-making spaces that were previously forbidden and the sole domain of men. In this way, giving access to water and involving women in that process plants a seed for transformation in that community.

As Tina points out “lack of water is at the centre of a vicious circle of inequality”. As long as the issues in life that most concern women and girls are ignored, we deny these women both the basic tools for physical survival as well as the chance to a better life, free of all sorts of oppression.

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    • Eric says:

      06:50am | 18/03/10

      It’s a good thing men don’t drink water or go to the toilet, isn’t it?

      This article is extremely sexist. You could have made the case for improving access to water for everyone, but instead you turned it into a gender war attack on men.

      Way to go, Juliet - alienate half the community before you’ve even started.

    • Steve says:

      09:06am | 18/03/10

      Bloated old privileged white men showing yet again, they really don’t give a stuff about anyone else but themselves.

      They’d happily walk over the dehydrated and diseased carcasses of the developing countries people to claim oppression.

      Sure they might not have running water, sewage and washing facilities. Their babies die early from preventable diseases.

      But you Eric and Formersnag,  you are really the oppressed ones.

      child protector Formersnag -what these babies the wrong colour for you?

      Well done – what great examples you are . Your opionions are an embarrassment

    • wk says:

      09:21am | 18/03/10

      Agree Steve. Their lack of empathy is absolutely shameful. They seem to get worse with each post…
      On that note, thanks to the men out there that address the actual articles on the punch with an opinion, instead of claiming ‘opression’ or outright vilifying women at any oppurtunity.

    • Moi says:

      09:34am | 18/03/10

      ha ha ha ha a large proportion of the ‘half of the community’ you refer to Eric would not take offense to this inoffensive article.  Juliet is redressing the imbalance.  Though if you were to look at all of the news produced on this day, women and issues relating to women, or simply stories told from a woman’s perspective, would still be vastly underrepresented in comparison to male-oriented news.  You’ve still got most of the cake, so let us enjoy some crumbs.
      Men have not been ‘attacked’ in this article as you so hysterically put it, they have simply not been the focus.  Welcome to the world of anyone who is not a white Western male.

    • Guylian says:

      09:47am | 18/03/10

      The reason why improved water access would benefit women more than men is because in most of these countries, bringing water to the house is seen as women’s work - men won’t do it. At least once a day the women have to walk to the nearest water souce, sometimes hours away, fill their buckets and carry the water back to their homes - heavy, tough work that takes much of their day, and it seems that when they have the gall to ask for help from their (usually) much stronger husbands, they are often abused. It ain’t sexist to write about this if it’s true.

    • Gregory says:

      12:15pm | 18/03/10

      lol at the above posters. Eric and a few others are the only ones here willing to actually talk with common sense on the male hating garbage that comes from this webpage on a daily basis. Not to mention across most of the popular media.

    • Eric says:

      02:43pm | 18/03/10

      Good work Steve, keep pouring on the hate.

      That’s the way to win men over!

    • Formersnag, child protector says:

      06:51am | 18/03/10

      More deliberate, premeditated, half truth. The other half of the population obviously don’t need water to exist. Male babies definitely, don’t need any bathing, sanitation or drinking water.

      In all of the poor societies that you talk about the men & boys are involved in slave labour down the local salt mine while their wives & sisters are at home fetching water. In many of them, that is precisely, why they prefer to keep male children & marry of the girls, because the boys, with their greater upper body strength make better slave labourers.

      Domestic Violence was almost non existent in Australia 40 years ago. It is an enormous industry now, wasting vast amounts of taxpayers money.

      But please, do go ahead & defame the good men of Vanuatu (who are not here to defend themselves) in order to sex up your story for the mass media.

    • AFR says:

      07:09am | 18/03/10

      “Domestic Violence was almost non existent in Australia 40 years ago. It is an enormous industry now, wasting vast amounts of taxpayers money.”

      Please tell me you’re kidding.

    • Eric says:

      08:01am | 18/03/10

      There are millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money being poured into anti-male campaigns of various types under the guise of “domestic violence”.

      These campaigns constitute psychological violence against men, and sometimes physical violence as well.

    • James1 says:

      12:47pm | 18/03/10

      How so Eric?  I am not offended by campaigns calling for an end to male violence against women - I think it is great, as I would never even consider being violent towards the two women (well, a woman and a girl) in my home.  Do you disagree that domestic violence should be condemned?  If not, I fail to see your point.

    • BTS says:

      02:05pm | 18/03/10

      What about the women who commit Domestic Violence?

      Are they targetted at all by campaigns?

    • James1 says:

      02:25pm | 18/03/10

      BTS, it should be, especially if it reaches the level of male domestic violence.  But why oppose a campaign against male domestic violence just because there is no equivalent female campaign?  Do we really need to be that politically correct?  Surely opposing violence against women is a good thing?

    • Eric says:

      02:28pm | 18/03/10

      James1, of course all domestic violence should be condemned.

      But in our society, only men’s domestic violence is condemned. This is a sexist attack on men.

    • James1 says:

      03:44pm | 18/03/10

      Eric,

      I disagree.  It is an attack on men who are violent towards women.  The vast majority of men are not being attacked at all.

    • BTS says:

      04:00pm | 18/03/10

      Steve1,
      Surely, we should aim to prevent it reaching the level of male domestic violence?  I didn’t say I was opposed to campaigns against male domestic violence.

      ‘Do we really need to be that politically correct? ‘

      How would a woman answer that question?

      I think that’s the point some of us are trying to make here.  We should oppose all violence, we should want equal health care for all issues not just female, equal education for both sexes…

      How soon do you think we will see an article from Juliet condemning violent or alcoholic women in the home and it’s damaging the family fabric?  My guess is not too soon, in fact I would wager you will never see an article from Juliet condemning women…ever.

    • curious george says:

      12:43pm | 19/03/10

      Eric, if you think anti domestic violence campaigns are an attack on you as a man, are you saying you are a Perpetrator of domestic violence yourself?

    • Eric says:

      10:19am | 21/03/10

      Campaigns exclusively targeting male domestic violence are an attack on all men. They are intended to make men feel shame and guilt for their masculinity.

      That is why many men oppose these campaigns, and call for equality.

    • Straight talk says:

      07:31am | 18/03/10

      The two serial pests, Eric and Snag/various, are best ignored. Their posts are never anything other than predictably fact-free, cold-bloodedly misleading rants.

      Water and basic hygiene more often than not fall to the women of poor societies. Anything that improves either is a benefit to all, young, old, man, woman.

    • Eric says:

      08:00am | 18/03/10

      So why is this article all about women? It isn’t women who make dams, pipelines and taps - that’s overwhelmingly the work of men.

      The title says “Ignore water, ignore women”. Yet the article ignores men - except for the parts where it vilifies them.

      Is gender warfare the way to charity?

    • marley says:

      12:21pm | 18/03/10

      Oh for crying out loud Eric - if you’d ever been anywhere in the developing world, you would see it’s the women and girls, not the men and boys, fetching the buckets of water, often over quite long distances.  And water ain’t light, by the way.  Men only have access to water because women haul it home for them.  Give the women access to taps so they don’t have to walk for miles, and everyone benefits, male and female.  The women are home more, the kids are cleaner, meals are safer (and good old Mom is there to cook them, not halfway up the hill with her bucket).  Putting running water into these villages gives the women an immediate benefit (no more lugging buckets) and the men a less immediate but equally useful benefit - fewer diseases.  It’s a win/win and has nothing to do with some feminist subversion.

    • Eric says:

      02:35pm | 18/03/10

      Marley, feel free to promote the idea of bringing water to third world villages.

      But once you bring man-bashing gender wars into the issue, I and others will react.

      Men are starting to get sick of being attacked all the time.

    • Mike says:

      08:16am | 18/03/10

      Water access and good sanitary conditions is a worthy cause and certainly if investment was made on this on a global scale it would improve the lives of millions and save countless lives. So why on earth, Ms Willets, would you turn this into a gender issue? Crazy. A great way to cloud a very worthy issue with a layer of babble.

    • Its damn obvious! says:

      08:54am | 18/03/10

      Strange how its only females who require water in your commentary and what a terribly one sided story which is clearly designed to elicit response.

      There are wells in Somalia and Ethiopia that are guarded by tribesmen- yes men- with AK47-yes guns- to make sure their well and water isnt stolen…hmmm, ducking a bullet or holding on so as not go? i think i can cross my legs for the day!

      the Punch needs to think about its depth of stories and the obvious leaning towards making grandious statements to rattle the ire of all readers. You have a great foundation for a terrific contemporary news/discussion/current affairs website- dont let your journo’s write diatribe just for the sake of stirring the public person. puch the enveolpe

    • cybacaT says:

      09:04am | 18/03/10

      I must agree with other respondents.  As someone keenly interested in 3rd world charity, I find it disturbing that some continue to play out their own personal problems using this issue as a stage.  Good on you for raising this important issue of poverty once again in a media saturated with cat stories, Lara Bingle updates and celebrity photos.  But please push the feminist bandwagon onto an appropriate forum or you risk giving people yet another excuse to ignore world poverty.

    • Peter says:

      09:20am | 18/03/10

      Water, toilets and hygene are very important I agree, and all women should have access to this, but seriously you femmes are going to far… Are you suggesting that men don’t need these things and if they didn’t have it they would beat up on their loved ones? Is that what you are suggesting? Is that what your degree in man hating is telling you? A subject so important to the lives of these people has been deginerated by you, yes you, by putting a feminist spin on it. That is disgusting!!

    • cats says:

      09:39am | 18/03/10

      I agree that the author definately shouldn’t have singled out women and girls as the sufferers. I mean really, they are all suffering regardless of gender! The only ones who aren’t suffering are the corrupt men, their wives and their children. Taking gender sides will never work when we are talking about issues that face every person. It especially won’t work on the Punch, if you haven’t noticed the great intellectual comments from the regulars… *cough*

      However, it is good to see more important topics on The Punch. I am getting sick to death of crappy articles by politicians complaining about the other side’s policies, as if they are actually any different to each other. Then there is the men vs women articles that I may be the only one who is sick of..

    • Greek Snake says:

      09:52am | 18/03/10

      Quite interesting… The piece begins with a fairly common-sense approach and then feminism rears its ugly head towards the end. It serves a reminder to the open-minded intelligent sorts in your audience, about how personal bias can manipulate even the most innocent looking (albeit sad) statistics.

      It is rather amusing, how stupid you must think your male readers are. You quote gender neutral figures in the beginning (884 million PEOPLE, 1 in 8 PEOPLE and 2.6 billion PEOPLE) and then by the end we are back to having the feminist agenda shoved down our throats, speaking only about improvements for “women” and “girls”.

      It is rather amusing how you attempt to hide your feminist poison in amongst reasoned argument though. “The benefits you might expect like reduced heavy work for women and healthier families are widespread.” - I agree, healthier families is a good thing, but I notice how you mention reduced heavy work for women and care not about the men and boys who slave away at back breaking labor all day long?

      Hell even the title, Juliet, is a pathetic attempt at fusing water with women. One is a basic human requirement for life, the other, a nagging, vicious, manipulative gender of our species. One who thrives on playing the victim card, with no shame at all, even through issues as troubling as this, for both males and females alike Pathetic.

    • Peter says:

      10:03am | 18/03/10

      I don’t know if you guys have read previous posts of mine and the importance that we all examine the work the “office of women” do, is they will keep coming up with feminist issues to keep themselves relevant. This author has gone to the lowest common denominator by suggesting water is a feminist issue. Everyone should really keep a close eye on what they are doing. Now they got $75k to stay off work, because some productivity commission said it is very productive, strange way to run a business that is? very productive.. How far will they go? What is happening (and i think it was either Bob Katter or Wilson Tuckey who very eloquantly put it in parliement the other night about how the feminism work is affecting work in parliament and the wider ramification it is beginning to have on men. Can you imagine if Osama Bin Laden came out and said water is for men first not women, he would quite rightly be derided as a religous nut that needs to be ignored (or in his case exterminated). I think now that it has gone as far as water and the accusation that a man would beat up on his own kids because of lack of sanitation, we need to closely watch their next move. This is down right offensive…

    • Kevin Rennie says:

      10:17am | 18/03/10

      22 March is also the launch of the Th!nk3: Developing World blogging competition in Brussels. Water is one of the key United Nations Millennium Goals that will be discussed by the General Assembly in September. For more: http://redbluffr.blogspot.com/

    • Eric says:

      03:58pm | 18/03/10

      Nice video.

      I’m particularly impressed by the way you managed to avoid slandering men or white people at any point. Well done!

    • BTS says:

      10:30am | 18/03/10

      ...‘found out that since having a tap at their doorstep, women were no longer suffering from violence and conflicts with their husbands.’

      This is blatantly untrue.  At best, one anecdote does not an empircal study make and you would know this or should.  I lived in one or our own third world communities here in Australia and the violence towards women is inherently due to prevailing cultural issues and history of violence to all, not just women, by men in these communities, not whether there’s a tap at the front door.

      ‘For women and girls this means waking before dawn to find a private place to relieve themselves and then ‘holding on’ all day until nightfall, prisoners of the daylight.’

      Hilarious!  Funniest thing I have read all day…‘prisoners of the daylight’!

      You mean the daylight means they can’t hide ‘behind buildings, behind trees, along waterways and rivers and beaches’?

    • Peter says:

      10:46am | 18/03/10

      Mate, i am telling you that this is an extention of the “look at me everyone, im a victim” mentality that required deep pshycological study. We need to know, so we can help them. I am not trying to be clever, if this is real, i am happy for my tax dollars to help..

    • BTS says:

      12:47pm | 18/03/10

      Peter,

      It’s not real, it hasn’t been backed up, it’s one dubious source’s (disturbingly distorted) perception that it’s real and if you believe that I have a bridge I want to sell you.

      I would be interested to know if Juliet actually believed that she, a supposed academic, would be capable of producing such nonsense and then publically declaring it to the world.

      It does provide hope that we all may at some stage be asked to write for the The Punch.  Any loony gets a go apparently.

    • Peter says:

      01:21pm | 18/03/10

      BTS, doing what im doing is more fun that writing for The Punch. I don’t think newspapers employ high school drop outs.. But as i said, read what i wrote, i have not personally attacked anyone, just the facts. You can call me a loony if you like. Just for the record, i do not want anything taken away from women, nothing at all, i have a mother and 2 sisters. What i am saying, is this 100% focus on womans issues is doing harm to young men. Jeff Kennett had to leave Parliament before he could continue his work on depression which in large part (not all ofcourse) affects men. If this was a female issue, it would be front and centre in Politics. You might say there are only 20 women in parliament, but when it comes to issue like i mentioned, men have no representation.

    • BTS says:

      01:47pm | 18/03/10

      Umm, Peter,

      I wasn’t calling you a loony, I was referring to the questionable authenticity of the article itself.

      Otherwise we concur.

    • Sandra says:

      10:44am | 18/03/10

      This is a great article shedding light on important upcoming events for water and sanitation in Australia and on the global stage. It is true that this issue is important for women as their needs for sanitation and clean water as mothers are high. Though we all require these basic needs, women are often responsible for the supply and the use of water.
      I have witnessed that in many places in the developing world access to water and sanitation would greatly improve the situation for billions of families in terms of health, dignity, and economic gains.
      The focus is on women as it is often noted that improvements in their health and education benefits families the most. They are the backbone for health and wellbeing in the home. They and their families will benefit from gaining additional time to address the needs of their children and the ability to earn an income rather than fetching water for a large part of their day.
      aA very important issue is raised here and should be taken seriously by our government in these upcoming UN debates and High-Level meetings

    • Ray says:

      12:58pm | 18/03/10

      Sandra, that’s probably one of the root causes for the venom in some comments; ‘they are the backbone for health and well being in the home’. What do fathers do in the home. I recall my father (50s, 60s &70s;) as the rock of the family with immeasurable respect and standards. (subsequently piloried as a group). Not saying that my mother wasn’t similar But really self serving folklore doctrine like you have quoted is damaging and simply sexist. It’s sad to be so embedded in our culture that it is folklore and goes unnoticed.

    • Eric says:

      02:38pm | 18/03/10

      Sandra, if you can get clean water from a tap, you should thank men for it.

      Men built the dams, men laid the pipes, men invented and installed the taps.

      Since you choose to ignore the contributions of men, why should men care about you?

    • Paul Horn says:

      11:18am | 18/03/10

      Every cursed thing that inconveniences woman is a femininst issue have’nt you people cottoned on to that basic fact. You name it, increasing water and electricity prices, superannuation, gender pay imbalance, supposed sexual exploitation, child care, part time work, abortion bla bla bla. The entire stinking public narrative revolves around women women women!!! And then the feminist scum have the gall to accuse men of getting off easy as they are not part of the discussion. Well blow me!!  When was the last time any newspaper ran a general social article related to any male issue??? I have never read one!!!

      But the real fault lies in the pathetic emasculated white male tosser who has allowed femininist theory and practice to go unchallenged and so has witnessed every masculine institution apart from organised crime to be gender neutered and his masculine essence sucked from his very being.  Please tell me why it is that gender relations in so many of these “oppresed” countries are infinitely more harmonious than in modern rich Western nations? Why is it that black African women living in tribal situtions responsible for “carting water” while thier male chieftain sits on his behind are far happier with their lot and the men in their life than the stinking over indulged, pampered, self centred, rights infested white western woman??? Why are all extreme hateful feminists white anglo saxon women???? Why does the most priveliged gender and race on the face of this planet hate the most???? And the answer is simple. Woman hates being treated with privelige, she considers it a sign of weakness on the part of the male.
      There was a fascinating show on SBS some time ago. It involved Western families swapping places with families from other cultures. The one episode that made me laugh centred on an Australian families tribulations living with an African tribe. The women had to perform the arduous work of carting water from the local well. The Australian matriarch had great difficulty keeping up with them and constantly complained. Wa Wa Wa!! The African women considered her a bore but what made me really laugh was the contempt she reserved for the male chieftain. She really had it in for him - a perverted product of filthy feminist orthodoxy!!! The rest of the family though challenged did not have anywhere near the contemptible attitude she displayed towards her hosts.

      So thank your lucky stars white western ladies for the clean running water, the limitless cheap energy, the functioning civil society that guarantees your freedoms all provided by the virility, towering intellect and well intentioned white western male.

      So next time you see a white western man on the street get on your knees and with the reverence he deserves thank him for all he has contributed to your comfortable indulged lifestyle. Without him you’d still be living in caves, beaten or traded and forced into real servitude. But strangely you’d probably be much much happier.
      Any man that supports the lie of feminist dogma supports his own annihilation!
      Have a nice day y’all.

    • Jimmy says:

      11:43am | 18/03/10

      I was going to add my two cents about this feministic and misandric article until I read your comment.

      All I can say is, well said!

      Have a good one.

    • Peter says:

      12:03pm | 18/03/10

      What these silly femmes don’t understand, is men granted them the great life they have today. It can be very easily taken away, but we don’t live in that sort of society. I don’t know what injustice these people have suffered, other than just being born a woman. May these ‘independant’ women are dancing in the streets after Abbotts welfare handout. Up there for independance ladies.. Like Beyone, ‘all you women independant, throw your welfare at them’. I love that kind of independance..

    • Gez says:

      12:09pm | 18/03/10

      ‘So next time you see a white western man on the street get on your knees and with the reverence he deserves’‘

      You sound like you need pyschological help…. You weren’t by chance, out-performed by a woman repeatedly, suffering from short man syndrome, or shall we say ‘lacking’ in terms masculine skills…..???
      Maybe all the above!

      I am a man by the way, and agree with some comments from guys on here, but men like you are a disgrace. I hope someone knocks some sense into you…either that or you move to another society that you claim is so much better. And I’ll pity the women there then.

    • Peter says:

      12:58pm | 18/03/10

      You might be a man Gez, im not sure. You don’t sound like one. You have reverted to the typical feminist trait of personal insults and not willing to back up anything you say with facts. I’d bet my life that i am taller than you are (without having met you), and most of the woman in my life actually love me believe it or not. They know my views, they understand where i am coming from (especially those with young boys, and they are concerned too). So you can question my masculinity if you like. I imagine you to be some Greek Adonis im sure…

    • Gez says:

      01:27pm | 18/03/10

      I was addressing Paul Horn…. thanks Peter…who I quoted at the top - are you one & the same? that makes more sense!!! Sad though, that you had to write back to yourself, endorsing your own comment…hmm.
      I guess we’ll never know who’s taller….

    • Peter says:

      01:56pm | 18/03/10

      Umm Well Gez, if you look at your response, its sitting right under mine, and your personal insults are consitant with others who have no interest in facts. Im sure Paul Horn is a great bloke because your attacking him, but no, it’s not me.. Happy hunting….

    • Peter says:

      02:04pm | 18/03/10

      I just read what Paul Horn said, although i don’t agree with everything he said, at least he provided me a laugh. Am due to go over to a mates place for dinner, i will ask his missus to get on her knees and show me the reverence i deserve. I think i might be going hungry…

    • BTS says:

      02:12pm | 18/03/10

      Peter,

      Hungry, Bruised and Banned!

      It might still be worth it for the laugh though..up to you!

    • Peter says:

      02:38pm | 18/03/10

      Believe me, the women i know will probably just laugh and give me a kiss as well. They wouldn’t use that comment to urge their daughters to do “man hating” at uni, go to work for the “office of the downtrodden” and walk the halls of parliament and ask for handouts. I honestly believe that feminism these day, is not doing women any favours. Yes in the past there were physical barriers which prevented women from progressing in life or the workforce, these barriers had to be dismantled, i agree 100%. But there were also perceived barriers, that feminism (back then), helped women with as well. My hypothesis is, that ramant feminism is putting up these phychological barriers for young men (and there are probably a few real ones as well). We can’t have a Government department telling women they are better than men, no-one needs that and it is not helpful. We need Government departments to help everyone achieve their best, regardless of gender, sexuality, religious views etc etc. Do you understand where i am coming from??

    • Amy says:

      11:39am | 18/03/10

      Gee Paul you are one of lifes true losers…blame everyone else for your problems.  Wow bet you have the ladies lining up there!
      or perhaps its just night after alone on your couch….wondering why you have no friends or decent job prospects…I imagine that’s some woman’s fault not your own pathetic attitude or lack of skills isn’t it? 
      I am pretty sure it was white western men trading slaves wasn’t it?
      its everyone’s right to freedom not just a special privilege granted out of the kindness of white western men.

    • just be correct with world history says:

      12:11pm | 18/03/10

      Actualy slavery was common across all ‘colors’ on this planet and not just relevant to white males!
      Arabic, American and Asian cultures all encompassed slavery -it wasnt just the big white bad man who excelled at this appalling form of human degredation.
      African slavery was also tribal and regional based on the African continent
      get your historical world knowledge correct

    • mk says:

      12:19pm | 18/03/10

      He deserves serious pity. He sounds like a truly sad soul who is looking for a target for his life’s failures, he’s chosen women by the sounds of it! I feel sorry for the ones who know the guy….He sounds boderline pyscho.

    • BTS says:

      01:04pm | 18/03/10

      mk,

      What makes Paul any different from Juliet?  She chose men as her targets for her failures in life.

      Amy,

      So from this you know he spends his life on the couch, has no friends and no job?  With skills like that, what are you wasting your time here on the The Punch? 

      It’s funny how sexism is only a one way street.  The women who denounce feminism and want to be accepted for who they are and what they have achieved through hard work are the ones who are respected.  It’s the one’s who need excuses for their own failings that cling to feminism and whine about how things are equal.

    • Eric says:

      02:40pm | 18/03/10

      Amy, if the sign of “one of lifes true losers” is to “blame everyone else for your problems”, then the biggest losers are .... feminists.

      They blame men for all their problems, after all. This article is an example.

    • Ray says:

      05:49pm | 18/03/10

      Amy, well who cares about your insightful character assassination of someone you don’t know. Can I assume you best friend is battery operated and stored in the top drawer next to your bed. See any one can be derogatory . It doesn’t necassarily refect enhanced inteligence.

    • Ray says:

      12:42pm | 18/03/10

      As usuaal the venom comes out when unjustified gender content is flogged. The bottom line here is that men have just had a gut full of the one sided privelege towards women and the one sided culpable intent to demise of males.

      All the African people subject of the article need assistance just as our Aboriginals do rather than the pork barrelling hand outs to gain the female vote aka T. Abbott’s fantasy maternity leave .

      I have said it before, the most pressing issue in our culture is the under education of boys. These topics regularly raise the issue of Australia leading the world in education of women but failing in say maternity leave. Well, please tell me where we stand in the worlds ratings on boys education. Study never done? Or is it inversely proportional to the way you educate women. Of course it would take real politicians to step outside comfort zone politics to address this matter.

      Sadly the young (or older)  female journos have been indoctrinated to this type of thinking through the same tainted education system .

      Unfortunately I deduct an undercurrent of strong resentment and disrespect towards women because of a society that has chosen them as the patron saints of privelege, and men as the culpable intent of demise. Frankly that does not look good for women.

      We are a single species. Not one of gender specific paranoid preference and the other handicapped by under education. Life is not a handicap race.

      Best wishes to the African Nations that need water and the Aboriginals that need help. And my condolences to the women who need welfare at $150,000pa income levels.

    • Amy says:

      01:12pm | 18/03/10

      Thank you Just to be correct, can you provide more information .  Was slave trading particularly well organised and was it run equally by men and women.  who were the main victims men or women?  or was it just equal servitude for all.

    • slavery 1 oh 1 says:

      01:34pm | 18/03/10

      Define well organised? what is the measure of that?

      a tribe raiding a tribe to steal women or a tribe raiding a tribe to steal anyone to sell to slavers or place in servitude? is that organised enough or do they require invoicing and barcodes?

      was it run by men or women- men men men? althoungh Cleopatra had penchance for Nubians

      who were the victims? women, men, old and young, the tribe, the family, the person, the culture

      your cynical leading questions deserve derision

    • Ray says:

      05:56pm | 18/03/10

      Amy, in all types of servitude men have always been the main recipients

    • BTS says:

      01:19pm | 18/03/10

      The most disturbing part about this entire article is that the author, as a University employee, has the ability to infect the education of our youth with this toxic belief system.

    • Eric says:

      02:43pm | 18/03/10

      Indeed, BTS.

      This feminisation of the education system is the reason why men are dropping out, and falling behind in the “official” education results.

    • Peter says:

      02:47pm | 18/03/10

      BTS, do you think what the author wrote is more extreme that what any islamic fundamentalist has just said? I don’t. This is the most extreme hateful thing i have ever read…

    • BTS says:

      04:09pm | 18/03/10

      Peter,

      No more, no less extreme than any Islamic fundamentalist.

      I don’t hate Juilet, we’ve never met.  I don’t agree with her point of view and it’s dangerous to educate our youth that this is in anyway accurate.

    • Greek Snake says:

      04:14pm | 18/03/10

      Ah so true BTS.

      It becomes a worry when such biased views become ingrained in the education system as part of the curriculum.

      The same way the Jews and Aborigines are playing the victim cards in the education system. The country teaches our children to feel sorry for these groups. You cannot hate that which you feel sympathy for. Now here come the feminists.

    • BTS says:

      04:21pm | 18/03/10

      Peter,

      ‘This is the most extreme hateful thing i have ever read…’

      So I can get a job at a University, is that what you are saying?

    • Mish says:

      01:50pm | 18/03/10

      Congratulations Juliette you and your colleagues are doing some great work in disadvantaged communities. Improving people lives and reducing disease and infant mortality.
      You are leaving the world a better place.
      Best of luck in the future.

    • Eric says:

      03:08pm | 18/03/10

      Mish, who is actually doing that work?

      Is it women and academics who are building the dams and laying the pipes and supplying the money? Or is it men?

      Interested people want to know.

    • marley says:

      09:04pm | 18/03/10

      Eric -surely the whole point of this article is that no one in these communities, not men and not women, is building these dams and laying the pipes.

    • Jenny says:

      03:50pm | 18/03/10

      Wow.. I can’t believe the number of overly sensative men on this forum.
      These comments were made about people from other cultures, in other social settings and yet so many take them as a reflection upon themselves.

      We should consider ourselves lucky to be in a society whos aim is EQUALITY. Now both sides will always claim that they get the rough end of the stick (eg women claiming a same work, unequal pay and men claiming under education of boys), but the fact is that we are a lot closer to acheiving this goal that the places spoken about in this article and without debate, we are unable to make any change at all.

      The program to bring water to communities benefits everyone. The direct benefit is to the water carrier (who is often a woman, but may also be a man or children), with secondary benefits to those who use the water.

      On the domestic violence front, ANY domestic violence is toxic to a community. It just so happens that physical violence is most often purpertrated by men towards women and children. To say that is fact, not stirring up trouble. It is not saying that women can’t / don’t also act violently in a domestic setting, but it is less common. That is why we have anti-domestic violence campaigns in the mass media targeted toward men, not because of some hidden feminist agenda. I thought that much was obvious.

      It is an uncomfortable topic for everyone, but its not as uncomfortable for me as it is for the victims of this violence (be them male or female). Perhaps we (as a society) should just go back to just not talking about it as we did 40 years ago so Formersnag, child protector can sleep at night. We know he’ll look the other way when little George or Doris is sporting that black eye or broken arm, and he’ll believe them when they tell us they walked into a door!

    • Ray says:

      05:41pm | 18/03/10

      Jenny, the reason men are overly sensitive as you put it is because the only issues that receive funding and attention in our society are those effecting women. You can lightly dismiss education of boys as most women will, despite being boys mothers, but the most distasteful aspect of boys under education is that it was induced with culpable intent. Yes again to appease women. Oh the sisterhood prefails over all. And no one will have the courage to address education inequality because the feminist juggernaut will prevail with its foot permanently on the male throat. Had a gut full.

    • Ray says:

      06:14pm | 18/03/10

      Oh, and Jenny, you are joking on equality aren’t you. This article is like Doctor Livingstone and other missionaries going into the wilderness with a floored mentality in the first place. Theres was to tell everyone to be christian, and not respect their culture which had survived far longer than our christian invention The floored mentality here being the proliferation of the preconceived mantra of effecting women and girls only. Another transgretion from western society dominating that women are the patron saints of privelege, know it, and expect it, all that will be judged poorly by history. Other than that men and women seem to have enormous disrespect for each other which will be cleared up when inevitably women run. Men are already going out the back door fast aided and abetted by misguided legislation, funding and now birth gender choice, with resounding celebration by women. Charming. Hey, but don’t let me stop you from gender stereotyping based on folklore with worn out cliches.

    • Rob says:

      07:35am | 19/03/10

      Jenny, when everything is programmed your way you don’t have to worry about oversensitive men. As in winners can laugh, losers can please themselves. I think that sums up women in our society. Equality don’t make me laugh. We’re into protectionism and social engineering. And I think it is cowardly for women to start this process on young kids though the education system at ages as young as 4 or 5. It is simply gender cleansing through re programming of the mind. Women carry over some bitter grudge coneived in the above circumstances.

    • pc says:

      04:17pm | 18/03/10

      Hi Juliet,

      What a great way to get our attention. And our attention is so easily distracted. I dont often get to hear uncommon voices - well in this case I guess I read it. But you know what I mean. Its often difficult to know what people think if you dont ever get to hear them or stop to listen. Some people just like to call others racists or sexists because they are discussing issues that involve race or gender. Its because without acknowledging these issues its kinda difficulta ta talk about. Its difficult to talk about these issues without talking about our identities. Or other peoples identities. And well…  that rarely goes smoothly. Identities arent a good reason to fight wars or send people to camps or build death machines. But without an identity how else are people going to defend themselves from wars or camps or death machines?

    • David says:

      05:19pm | 18/03/10

      Ms Willets, this is a terrible mish-mash of an article. Not suffering from violence and conflict because of a tap? I’ve heard less ridiculous things in Genesis 1.

      This is not an issue for women & girls; it’s for every single person without water & sanitation. So don’t single out genders, because it makes you sound as hateful as Eric. And that’s not easy.

    • Von says:

      07:36pm | 18/03/10

      One of the other pressing problems is women being coerced into giving up their children ‘for a better life’ in a richer country i.e for adoption through the adoption industry.

    • Eric says:

      09:27am | 19/03/10

      Men don’t have children?

    • Peter says:

      09:38am | 19/03/10

      Notice how not many woman feel outraged by this. When “feminist” thought they were downtrodden in this very rich country of ours, there were no shortage of men willing to help overcome the chains and shackles we apparantly had them locked in. Maybe “The Office of the Downtrodden” might help…

    • Davido says:

      02:12am | 21/03/10

      Ok, I happen to agree with this article.

      But on the surface, how could a lack of water toilets be a gender issue?

      In India, where I live, some 700 million people do not have access to a toilet. Sanitation is of course a problem on a scale hard to imagine in Australia. Food poisoning occurs on an epidemic scale.

      But how does an absence of toilets affect men and women differently? Simply put, the culture allows men to urinate freely virtually anywhere. Thus they have mobility. Men can go pretty much anywhere without the need to consider their proximity to a toilet.

    • Helen says:

      09:06am | 22/03/10

      Great article, Juliet - in a way I’m sorry it had to be here, because it provokes such a lot of knuckle-dragging reaction. But I’m sure there are a lot of people many of whom have just rolled their eyes at the comment thread and appreciated what was in the article instead. wink

    • james says:

      10:42am | 22/03/10

      Your comment: Great article and good to see this issue being raised on World Water Day. I have lived in South Asia for many years and see this in rural and urban communitites. The UNICEF report referred to actually includes data on who does the water collection in 45 countries and in two thirds of households it is women. One of the best books in recent years on sanitation and water is the UNDP Human Development Report from 2006 which states “ Every day millions of women and young girls collect water for their families—a ritual that reinforces gender inequalities in employment and education.” and “Women and young girls carry a double burden of disadvantage, since they are the ones who sacrifice their time and their education to collect water.” For those wanting to read more the WSSCC report “For Her Its the Big Issue” explains the issue well with lots of evidence from around the world.

    • Eric says:

      01:41pm | 22/03/10

      And what were the men doing while women fetched water? All the really heavy work, as they always do.

    • marley says:

      06:14pm | 22/03/10

      Eric - if you think carrying buckets of water a few miles up hill and down dale isn’t heavy work, all I can say is, try it some time.  I’m not saying men in these villages aren’t also working hard, but don’t denigrate the women.

    • Eric says:

      06:33am | 23/03/10

      Of course carrying water is hard work.

      But neither the article nor james’ comment mentions any of the work done by men.

      It is they who are denigrating men by pretending they do no work and exist only to abuse women.

 

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