Gender and integrated water resource management

Cleaver, Frances and Nyatsambo, Rose (2011) Gender and integrated water resource management. In: Water Resources Planning and Management. Cambridge University Press, pp. 311-330. ISBN 9780521762588

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This chapter outlines the ways in which gendered roles and relationships shape the processes and outcomes of water resource management. It locates this discussion in the context of water management policies over the past decades, especially the realisation that improved water management cannot be achieved by technical means alone and the consequent shift towards a recognition of the role of women as water users and managers. This has, however, led to the assumption that involving women in decision-making and in operation and maintenance of water supplies ensures more effective water management and more equitable outcomes. The body of literature around water management discourse and practice, on the other hand, shows that, while gender has been nominally ‘mainstreamed’ into international policy making, its translation into practice has been constrained. Policy and practice have barely recognised the complexity of gendered water relations and the tenacity of social barriers that perpetuate unequal access and benefits. This chapter sets out key issues in understanding the gendered nature of water resource management, illustrates the intersection of gender and poverty, and offers some examples of promising directions in overcoming inequalities. Gender and water in international policy. A number of shifts in policy approaches to gender and water have occurred since the 1980s, with varying emphasis given to welfare, efficiency and empowerment concerns. These have laid the foundation for the various ‘actions’ to change the plight of women.

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07 Jul 2020 14:00
Last Modified:
19 Sep 2023 03:35