Sharon Kleyne Discovers Woman Leadership Plays Major Role in Solving Global Water Crisis
Bio-Logic Aqua Research Founder Sharon Kleyne Urges Greater Women Involvement in Water and Drought Issues
Hear the Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water on World Talk Radio, Voice America, Green Talk Network and Apple iTunes
Water activist and entrepreneur Sharon Kleyne has discovered that in the world's global fresh water crisis, record numbers of women are assuming high profile leadership positions. Kleyne sees this trend as beneficial both to resolving the crisis and to the status of women in general. She would like to see even more women assume leadership and activist roles in water issues.
Sharon Kleyne is Founder of Bio-Logic Aqua Research, a water and health research and product development center. Natures Tears® EyeMist®, a 100% pure water mist, is the Research Center's global signature product for dry eyes. As part of Kleyne's lifelong interest in fresh water education and activism, she hosts globally syndicated Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water® radio show, heard on VoiceAmerica and Apple iTunes.
Kleyne has always believed that women are far more impacted than men by water shortages and that for thousands of years, women have played a critical leadership role in water procurement, sanitation and allotment. Most people, says Kleyne, including most women, are unaware of this.
Women tend to be nurturers, healers, conciliators and teachers, Kleyne believes. This makes women ideally suited to set an example for the world and to spread the message regarding fresh water and health, nutrition, hydration, sanitation, hygiene, conservation and recycling, and the equitable and peaceful resolution of water conflicts.
To understand the importance of women in solving the current global water crisis, says Kleyne, people must first realize the full extent of the current global crisis, beginning with the United States. In California, Kleyne explains, the massive dam and aqueduct system upon which million of lives depend has failed and farmers have been relying on ground water, a finite and rapidly diminishing resource, to maintain crop yields. Most people in the US are unaware of this because even in California, they still have sufficient water to drink, flush their toilets and wash their cars.
In rural villages in places such as Kenya or Guatemala, says Kleyne, the crisis is much more urgent and deaths from diseases related to water and dehydration are rampant. Worldwide, it is reported that a child dies every 15 seconds from a water related disease.
Historically, women have been far more strongly impacted than men by water shortages and unsafe water, Kleyne observes. In rural villages in Africa, Asia and Central and South America, the task of fetching water each day from the nearest creek or pond is considered "woman's work." This task may entail carrying water for several miles in a jug on their head. The women usually bring their children, and young girls are trained to fetch and carry water at an early age.
In impoverished rural areas where water is scarce and unsafe, Kleyne contends, the main impediment to women and children attending school, and to women becoming active in their community, is the daily necessity to fetch water. The presence of a safe and reliable water source, such as a community well, according Kleyne, has been proven to save lives, upgrade the status of women and promote economic development.
Given the opportunity, says Kleyne, women who once carried water often become deeply involved in local economic development. Kleyne cites the African Development Bank, which reports that women constitute 48% of small business entrepreneurs in Kenya
For an outstanding example of the involvement of women in water issues, Kleyne points to the Women for Water Partnership, a Netherlands based alliance consisting of 24 women and water organizations in 100 countries. Members include organization such as the Ugandan Women for Water and Sanitation.
Kleyne also cites the 1992 "Dublin Statement on Water and Sustainable Development," Principle No. 3, which states that, "Women play a central part in the provision, management and safeguarding of water." Principle 3 notes the traditional role of women as providers and users of water and guardians of the living environment, and calls for increasingly greater women participation in the development and management of water resources.
African Development Bank, "African Women in business, African Women in Business initiative report, 2010, http://www.afdb.org/fileadmin/uploads/afdb/Documents/Generic-Documents/d%C3%A9pliant%20AWIB%20ENGL.pdf
Clean water for the world, http://cleanwaterfortheworld.org/faq, 2014
Famighetti, J, "Just How Bad is California's Epic Drought?", takepart.com, 2-22-14, http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/02/22/epic-california-drought-and-groundwater-how-far-have-we-come
Women for Water Partnership/Dublin Principles, http://womenforwater.org/openbaar/index.php, 2014