Gender equality: report

July 2016
The Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation
At the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council


Portuguese (Unofficial version)

Friendly version of the Special Rapporteur's report on gender equality (English | Français | Español)


Pursuant to Human Rights Council Resolution 27/7 of 2014, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, Mr. Léo Heller, was mandated to work on identifying challenges and obstacles to the full realization of the rights, as well as protection gaps, good practices and enabling factors.

On 3 June 2016, the Special Rapporteur held an expert consultation with experts on gender, human rights and water and sanitation from various fields. He also requested responses to a questionnaire, the results of which are available below.


Gender equality is a fundamental human rights principle, yet inequalities between men and women, and on the basis of gender identity, are observed in all countries and often translate into unequal opportunities and grave human rights violations.

The Special Rapporteur explains that a transformative approach is a prerequisite for ultimately achieving gender equality in the enjoyment of the human rights to water and sanitation. This approach requires challenging social norms, stereotypes and intra-household patterns, while also promoting gender-responsive interventions that prioritize the implementation of women’s specific needs.

At the same time, the Special Rapporteur indicates that tackling the material and structural determinants of gender inequalities in access to water, sanitation and hygiene could serve as an entry point to address gender inequality more broadly. The Special Rapporteur seeks to highlight areas that need particular attention in order to prevent and respond to gender inequalities in access to water and sanitation, as well as gender-based violence and barriers to the realization of the human rights to water and sanitation.

Inputs received

The Special Rapporteur invited States, intergovernmental organizations, national and international non-governmental organizations, national human rights institutions, United Nations agencies and entities, academia and all other interested stakeholders to contribute their views and perspectives on this subject in writing through a questionnaire, received by 31 January 2016. English | Français | Español

Civil Society