Better lives with better toilets

by Ian Ross

Imagine not having somewhere safe to go to the toilet. Really imagine it – leaving your house and defecating behind a bush or a building. It’s hard to bend your mind to consider that, if you’ve had access to a clean, comfortable bathroom since you were a child. However, around the world, 900 million people have no option but to defecate in the open. A further 1.4 billion use a toilet that doesn’t meet World Health Organization standards for ‘basic’ toilets, meaning that it could still be a direct source of disease. Continue reading

Notes on a G-string

by Rosie Cowan

An item of underwear recently made headline news in the Republic of Ireland. The lacy thong was produced in a Cork courtroom, where a female defence barrister declared it proof that a 17-year-old rape complainant was ‘up for it’ – keen to have sex on the night in question. The jury of eight men and four women took just under an hour to acquit the 27-year-old defendant. Continue reading

Can the poor pay for drinking water?

by Rob Hope

Economists often ask awkward questions. With safe drinking water a human right as well one of the world’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) there must be the money to pay for everyone to get drinking water, right? Apparently not. With over two billion people without safely-managed water and 663 million without basic water the costs to meet the target by 2030 runs to US$114 billion per year.

The policy puzzle is how to square safe water for everyone with financial sustainability? As words fly up, delivery on the ground remains tricky. So if we ask the question from the perspective of the poor, and what they will pay, does that help us think of new ways forward? Continue reading

Are we achieving gender equality? Can we do more?

by Emma Jeanes

Gender equality is firmly back on the public agenda. Unless you’ve switched off the television and radio, disconnected from social media and abandoned the printed press you can’t fail to notice that gender equality and related topics of sexual harassment, that disproportionately affects women, are regular topics of conversation. Social media has played a crucial role in spreading the word, with many campaigns such as #MeToo and #HeForShe drawing attention to gender inequality, and coalescing support to tackle it. This is all fantastic news and a step in the right direction. What is also heartening is the role men are playing in this as women cannot address gender inequality on their own. Continue reading