SHF joins 2X Global to catalyze investments toward sanitation, hygiene and menstrual health in LMICs, critical to achieving gender equality

Image 2X Global announcement

The UN’s Sanitation and Hygiene Fund (SHF) is pleased to join 2X Global, the leading membership and field-building organisation for unlocking gender-smart capital at scale. Investment in sanitation, hygiene and menstrual health can deliver direct and indirect benefits to women and girls, removing barriers to ensure they realise their full potential while lifting families, communities and economies alongside.

According to the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP, UNICEF /WHO), of the 3.4 billion people globally who lack access to safely managed sanitation, more than half a billion share sanitation facilities with other households, impacting women’s and girls’ privacy, dignity, and safety. In 22 countries, surveys show that among households with shared toilets, women and girls are more likely than men and boys to feel unsafe walking alone at night and face sexual harassment and other safety risks. Inadequate sanitation and hygiene also increase health risks for women and girls and limit their ability to manage their periods. At present, 1 in 4 women and girls worldwide struggles to manage their menstruation safely and with dignity. 

“Women are half the world’s population and power half the world’s economy. By uniquely supporting the building of sanitation economies and the menstrual health market, we not only increase access to safe products and services but we unlock women's power, targeting funding for women and applying gender smart principles to our work.  Bringing a gender investment lens into how we do our business is not a good to have, it is a must have, ” said Dominic O’Neill, Executive Director, SHF.

As a 2X Global member, SHF aims to highlight to the community, and others, the gender-smart investment and impact potential of sanitation, hygiene and menstrual health. Studies show that economic losses associated with inadequate sanitation represented 1.3% of GDP globally in 2012 and as per the World Economic Forum, addressing the women’s health gap could potentially boost the global economy by at least $1 trillion annually by 2040. 

“It is wonderful to welcome SHF to 2X Global to drive investment into sanitation and hygiene and menstrual health. Women's health is a critical issue - one where we still need to make far more progress - in research and in products, solutions and services. Sanitation, hygiene and menstrual health are at the core of this - from being the first line of protection against diseases to a monthly part of the lives of millions of people worldwide, there is tremendous impact opportunity here. We need billions more in investment in women’s health and for us at 2X Global, we're very committed to drive action at the nexus of finance and women's health and how together with our members, we can be part of the solution and mobilise more financing for women’s health solutions,” said Jessica Espinoza, CEO of 2X Global.

“Investing in scaling up local sanitation and menstrual solutions means investing in local economies, local supply chains where women play a critical role. Even today, up to 19% of women missing work in West Africa report doing so because of menstruation. It is time we come together as like-minded partners to drive investment in sanitation, hygiene and menstrual health as an investment in women, and the societies and economies they power,” added O’Neill.

A global UN fund, SHF works with Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) to build robust and climate-resilient sanitation economies and the menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) market through catalytic financing. As we work to achieve universal access to sanitation, hygiene and MHH through market-based approaches, we are committed to drive gender lens investing through all of our work and partnerships.