Staff at South West Water in Exeter mark World Toilet Day
Staff at South West Water's headquarters in Exeter today (Monday 19 November) showed their support for the one in three women worldwide who don't have anywhere safe to go to the toilet.
A group of 57 female employees formed an unusual queue for the loo outside the company headquarters in Rydon Lane on World Toilet Day in a bid to support the 1.25 billion women around the globe who are at risk of diseases, harassment and even violence because of poor sanitation and dirty water around them.
The water and sewerage company has been supporting international charity WaterAid for over 20 years and sent employee Susie Golics to see the organisation's work on the ground in Zambia earlier this year.
Employee Development Consultant Susie, who is also WaterAid Regional Representative in the South West, said: "In some parts of Zambia women risk rape and attack if they go out at night looking for somewhere to go to the toilet. Others don't even have a toilet of their own and are forced to use a tin or beg their neighbours to use their facilities.
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"We asked our female employees to think about what it is like for millions of women who risk shame, disease, harassment and even attack because they have nowhere safe to go to the toilet. That is why we asked them to help construct their own latrine which is typical of what women without adequate sanitation facilities are forced to use every day."
Barbara Frost, Chief Executive of WaterAid, said: "When women don't have a safe, secure and private place to go to the toilet they are exposed and put in a vulnerable position and when they relieve themselves in the open they risk harassment. Women are reluctant to talk about it or complain, but the world cannot continue to ignore this.
"Adequate sanitation, coupled with access to clean, safe water to drink, transforms lives, improving health, safety and productivity. Governments are urged to take action and invest in access to sanitation and water."
It's not the first time South West Water staff have raised awareness for World Toilet Day. Last year, a queue of 90 employees based in Exeter lined up for one portable toilet to highlight how fortunate we are in the UK to have ready access to safe water and sanitation.