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Gender aspects of IWRM

Water is an economic, social and ecological good granted for the welfare of all the people without any exception. Considering the IWRM systems, the UNDP links water with four key areas of activities: i) struggle against poverty; ii) life support; iii) environmental protection; and iv) gender equality. A community consists of individuals and groups with different rights, welfare, power and abilities to express their needs and rights; and this fact should be taken into consideration while managing water resources.

As a rule, the extent of participation, interests, priorities and responsibilities of women and men are different in the governance of water resources. There are also gender differences in access to water resources and in water rights. Gender inequalities of women and men are evident in terms of knowledge and various experiences in such areas as water services, water policy and water availability. Any initiative in the water resources management sphere needs to be assessed concerning its impacts on women and men in order to understand clearly all the effects and to avoid negative consequences. Mainstreaming gender in IWRM strategies and plans has three key entry points:

1. While developing new initiatives and programs, it is necessary to carry out a good gender analysis to specify the differences in their perceptions by women and men. Ideally, both women and men should be involved in carrying out the gender analysis;

2. Based on findings of this analysis, all initiatives have to take into account perspectives, needs, and interests of both men and women; and to promote a more active role of women to reduce the level of gender inequality, if possible;

3. It is necessary to use participatory approaches, facilitating the equal participation of women and men in water resources management, especially at the level of decision-making.

Source: G.V. Stulina, D.R. Ziganshina, Sh.Sh. Mukhamedjanov: Gender Aspects of IWRM

Selected bibliography