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Gender and water

Gender mainstreaming in relation to water is defined by the World Water Vision as follows:

It (the gender approach) includes addressing both practical and gender needs such as improving womens conditions through the provision of water and sanitation closer to their houses as well as strategic gender needs: improving womens position in society by increasing her awareness of her situation and her capacity to take decisions and influence change. A gender approach also seeks to prevent further overburdening of women and stresses the importance of not automatically reinforcing and perpetuating traditional roles. This implies the needs to address men as well as women, since men are required to change their attitude and behaviour to support this.

Source: World Water Vision, 1999

Women have primary roles in the collection, transport, use, and management of water and the promotion of sanitary practices, and yet are hardly involved in decision making in the sector.

Source: Asian Development Bank
ADB Gender Checklist: Water Supply and Sanitation

In developing the full and effective participation of women at all levels of decision-making, consideration has to be given to the way different societies assign particular social, economic and cultural roles to men and women. There is a need to ensure that the water sector as a whole is gender aware, a process which should begin by the implementation of training programmes for water professional and community or grass root mobilizers.

Source: Global Water Partnership Integrated Water Resources Management


The implementation of a gender approach within institutions and organizations and the establishment of formal and informal networks are crucial.

Source: International Conference on Freshwater, Bonn, 2001

Selected bibliography

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