03/24/2014 12:08 pm ET Updated May 24, 2014

Water Access: A Major Women's Empowerment Concern

Saturday March 22 was World Water Day.

Most of us don't know that 768 million people don't have access to safe drinking water. Here in the United States, we're able to turn on a faucet and safe water flows out -- water that we can drink, cook with and bathe in.

Most of the world is deprived of that luxury.

Of those who do have access to safe water, many walk miles several times per day just to retrieve it from a well. And with global warming, it will only become more time consuming to gather water.

Most of the time it's women and girls who spend hours every day working to bring clean water to their homes, their families and their communities. Women and girls who may not be safe going to retrieve water alone, and girls who give up their day in school in order to get water for the family.

Access to safe water means more than just the ability to drink, wash and clean without getting sick. It means more time for girls to go to school, gain an education and become independent. It means more time for women to earn money for their family. And often money earned by women is spent on school, food, medicine and household items that improve the family's well-being.

As we think about World Water Day, we need to work so that everyone has access to clean, safe, life-saving water. We also need to lift the burden for women and girls who already lose so much of their lives walking to wells.