World Water Day 2017: Wastewater

Author: Ashley Benedict

World Water Day is about taking action to tackle the water crisis. The Sustainable Development Goals, launched in 2015, include a target to ensure everyone has access to safe water by 2030, making water a key issue in the fight to eradicate extreme poverty.

In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated March 22 as World Water Day. World Water Day is coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with governments and partners.

Why wastewater?

Globally, the vast majority of all the wastewater from our homes, cities, industry and agriculture flows back to nature without being treated or reused – polluting the environment, and losing valuable nutrients and other recoverable materials. Wastewater continues to be produced at an increasing rate due to increases in population, but our treatment of waste water is seriously lacking.

Here are some statistics from this Factsheet on the World Water Day website:

  • Globally, over 80% of the wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused.
  • 1.8 billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with feces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio.
  • Unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene cause around 842,000 deaths each year.
  • 663 million people still lack improved drinking water sources.
  • By 2050, close to 70% of the world’s population will live in cities, compared to 50% today5 . Currently, most cities in developing countries do not have adequate infrastructure and resources to address wastewater management in an efficient and sustainable way.
  • The opportunities from exploiting wastewater as a resource are enormous. Safely managed wastewater is an affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials.
  • The costs of wastewater management are greatly outweighed by the benefits to human health, economic development and environmental sustainability – providing new business opportunities and creating more ‘green’ jobs
  • By 2030, global demand for water is expected to grow by 50%

How to reduce & reuse your wastewater

Instead of wasting wastewater, we need to reduce and reuse it. In our homes, we can reuse greywater on our gardens and plots. In our cities, we can treat and reuse wastewater for green spaces. In industry and agriculture, we can treat and recycle discharge for things like cooling systems and irrigation.

We’re all wasters when it comes to wastewater. Every time we use water, we produce wastewater. And instead of reusing it, we let 80% of it just flow down the drain. We all need to reduce and reuse wastewater as much as we can. Here are three ideas for all us wasters:

  1. Turn off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth or doing dishes or scrubbing vegetables. Otherwise you’re just making wastewater without even using it!
  2. Put rubbish, oils, chemicals, and food in the bin, not down the drain. The dirtier your wastewater, the more energy and money it costs to treat it.
  3. Collect used water from your kitchen sink or bathtub and use it on plants and gardens, and to wash your bike or car.

By exploiting this valuable resource, we will make the water cycle work better for every living thing. And we will help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 6 target to halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and increase water recycling and safe reuse.

Want to know whether you’re a waster? Take this quick quiz.

Here is a short video on how wastewater is reused. Below is a video on how we can further reuse our wastewater:

The water passing through us and our homes is on a journey through the water cycle. By reducing the quantity and pollution of our wastewater, and by safely reusing it as much as we can, we’re all helping to protect our most precious resource.

Everyone involved in development cooperation is being urged by a UN expert to work together to ensure that the human rights of water and sanitation are available to all people around the world.

The appeal comes from the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to water and sanitation, Léo Heller, on World Water Day and aims to shed light on the key role of development cooperation in the realization of the rights to water and sanitation. Read the full UN Human Rights article here.

Interested in learning more? Check out these stories!

 All information found from the World Water Day website. All credit goes to the authors. 

How do you plan on reducing and reusing your wastewater? Are there any other ways you currently take action to conserve our freshwater? Let us know by sending in work, comments, and questions to

A Broken Heart But No Heart

Author: Sierra Nakano


Always Shivering


Your love has eaten away

at my hair and skin,

leaving my body bare boned,

always shivering.

Each word you create

is a weapon that spears

through my rotting flesh

but continues

on like a transparent target.

I try to hug you

but you step aside,

leaving me to grasp for air—

I cannot breathe.

I want you

to nurse me back to life,

life that you had given to me

then brutally taken away

as you locked the doors

and ignored my cries.

But I know that when I get

through to you,

you will let me back in.

I will open your chest

rip out your heart,

and consume it like I’ve always wanted to,

and then you will

finally keep me warm.

Let’s Have A Chat

Author: Sierra Nakano


Asian American: Does that make me Asian or American?


You, my friend, treat me as if I am full Japanese,

when in reality, I am only half. Therefore, you say,

I am a minority and I can feel the implications

of racism, I perceive the threats and discriminations

as an Asian American in this white world

and I should not stand for any of it. I should

argue the rights I have and mock those

with lighter skin, those who are only attacked

with prejudice and not racism because white

is not a race. As an Asian American, I should

stand with those who look like me, like you,

whose race is fully Asian. But, alas,

my friend, I am only half.


I am only half. Do you see my German side? Do you see

that I am white, what you perceive as white,

which is everyone in the western hemisphere? Do you hate me,

my friend, for my Nikes or even for being voted

team captain? Did I get those things because I am white? Would

you hate my mother if I invited you into my home? Dislike

my grandparents because they were not refugees like

your parents? Did you even know that my grandfather changed

his last name when he immigrate to this country

so that he did not seem out of place? Did your parents and my grandparents

not have anything in common? Do I not look white

just because of my dark hair and brown eyes? Besides,

what are “white people” if not a race?


And, my friend, who are “white people?”

Dutch? German? English? Spanish? Canadian?

You hate the “drama,” “white people” “stir up”

and everything they say…but why? Because

they are privileged? All of them?

When we chat, do you realize who you

are talking to? Who you are talking about?


Oh you have a white friend? Never mind

all that nonsense then, my friend.

Women’s Representation in Television

Author: Sabrina Leverett

Below are two charts comparing women’s representation in two popular shows, Friends and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. These charts are used to exploit the disparities that exist in women’s representation in older television shows as well as newer ones.


Category Amount MCs?
White 12 Yes
Black 1 No
Latina 1 No
Asian 0 No
Disabled 0 No
Child 0 No
18-25 3 No
25-40 10 Yes
40 and older 0 No
Bigger 0 No
Smaller 14 Yes


Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Category Amount MCs?
White 9 Yes
Black 6 No
Latina 4 Yes
Asian 2 No
Disabled 0 No
Child 0 No
18-25 8 No
25-40 9 Yes
40 and older 1 No
Bigger 0 No
Smaller 21 Yes


Since I don’t have cable, I decided to compare two of my favorite comedies, Friends and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I used a random number generator to pick the episode I watched. Friends is quite an older show and almost infamous for how little diversity it has, along with other offensive elements such as lesbian fetishization, transphobia, etc. On the other hand, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is generally pretty diverse and has little to no offensive elements.

From what I gathered, it is clear to see that Brooklyn Nine-Nine has a lot more diversity when it comes to women’s bodies, but it does still have work to do. Both Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Friends have no representation for larger women, with every woman in both of the shows being slim. In addition, both shows have little to no older women or disabled women in them. This shows a pattern of exclusion that is not getting better. While the amount and race of women (whether it be extras or main characters) has progressed over time, other types of women don’t seem to be getting much better.

Although this is not shown in the chart because it’s not directly related to women’s bodies, I’d also like to include that both shows have no representation of queer women whatsoever. In Friends, there is the occasional episode with Ross’ lesbian wife, but when she is in episodes she’s often the butt of a joke or the subject of fetishization. While Brooklyn Nine-Nine does have queer male representation, there is no explicit female representation (although one of the actresses has tweeted before that she believes her character is bisexual).

(Cis) Women’s Bodies Are Being Used to Further the Transphobic Agenda, and It’s Not Okay

Author: Ashley Benedict

Have you ever had to make the difficult choice of which public restroom to use? Probably not, because society has conveniently given us gender coded signs to show us where we should “go”. Men head towards the sign with the pants, and women head towards the sign with the dress. It’s all very… binary, and it can leave those who fall outside of society’s gender expectations feeling not only ostracized, but beyond stressed.

Under Title IX, the right of transgender students in public schools to use whichever bathroom coincides with their gender identities is protected. Except, not anymore. Public schools have now been “advised” to no longer adhere to this crucial right. And who are the ones being used as the scapegoat? Cisgender women.  Continue reading

Call for Submissions: Spring Break!

Author: Ashley Benedict

Spring break is here, and most of us will be traveling, volunteering, working, or watching Netflix for the week. (And trying to catch up on school work, though we’ll likely procrastinate on that).

What else can you do, if you find the time? Well, you can submit to Feminist Voices!

Unfortunately, as the intern for this blog, I will not be able to actively check the e-mail for most of Spring Break (though I do have posts scheduled for the week) but I’m hoping that some of you will take this week off as an opportunity to submit some work for me to come back to!

For those who aren’t sure what to write about, here are some recent issues you can build ideas from:

  • Recent anti-semitism and anti-muslim hate crimes throughout the country
  • Immigration reform
  • Transgender rights
  • Clean energy and cutting funds to the EPA
  • HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities)
  • “Religious freedom” to discriminate

The Women’s Center accepts all kinds of submissions, including, but not limited to:

  • Persuasive essays or personal stories
  • Creative writing, e.g., poetry, flash fiction, short stories, etc.
  • Book/movie reviews – anything that critically examines current events or media sources and their impact on social justice issues
  • Photography (along with a brief description of how the photograph relates to a specific topic)
  • Audio/visual, e.g., songs, skits, commentary videos, etc. (Note: for those interested in submitting audio or video pieces, please visit our FAQs page).
  • Art pieces that make a statement
  • Satirical comics or comics that address feminist myths, current social issues, etc.
  • Ideas for our Question of the Day polls

Check out our Get Involved page to find out more! We at the Women’s Center encourage submissions from anyone who wishes to share their opinions and let their voice be heard. You can also draw ideas for posts from our theme of the month!

The theme of the month for March is:


Take this break to think about how you can contribute and what issues you are passionate about. Your voice matters! Contact us through the contact page or send in submissions or questions to

Hope everyone has a relaxing break!

Zero Discrimination Day

Author: Ashley Benedict

Today, March 1st, has been anointed as “Zero Discrimination Day” for 2017. In a nutshell, this is a day that promotes diversity and recognizes that everybody counts. The theme this year is the role of discrimination in healthcare, specifically pertaining to those who live with HIV/AIDS, and below is a video that highlights this issue:

Here is an interactive website with stats pertaining to a number of issues worldwide.

Non-discrimination is a human right, and so is universal healthcare. Data from 50 countries from the People Living with HIV Stigma Index show that 1 in 8 people living with HIV report being denied health care. Around 60% of European Union/European Economic Area countries report that stigma and discrimination among health-care professionals remains a barrier to the provision of adequate HIV prevention services for gay men and people who inject drugs.

From UNAIDS website and press release statement: “This year we are calling on everyone to make some noise for #zerodiscrimination. Individuals and communities can join voices and transform the world. Zero Discrimination Day is an opportunity to highlight how everyone can be part of the transformation and take a stand for a fair and just society.” In this day and age, it’s imperative that we become aware of acts of discrimination and work to dismantle our own prejudices.

How do you stay mindful of possible acts of discrimination committed by both by yourself and others? Do you call out acts of discrimination when they occur? Do you plan to? Let us know by sending submissions to