Gender and Water Alliance

Why focus on Gender and Water

Research and practical experience demonstrate that effective, efficient and equitable management of water resources is only achieved when women and men are equally involved in consultation processes as well as in the management and implementation of water-related services (GWA Strategic Plan 2006-2010). A gender approach shows that women and men have distinctive tasks and responsibilities in water. Despite broad international decisions calling for women's full participation in water development activities and decision-making, many institutions have not fully understood or adopted a gender-sensitive, rights-based and inclusive approach to integrated water resource management (IWRM).

Efficiency. When women and men share decisions in water management, the results are: a better use of time, money and resources, including human resources; a greater genuine involvement and commitment of water users; and increased creativity for conserving scarce supplies. Low-cost, sustainable solutions can be identified. When empowered, women and poor water users will make their voices heard, which is necessary for efficient water management.

Effectiveness. Women are the main water users throughout the world, being responsible for providing adequate water and sanitation for their families. In many cultures, women and men contribute to water management, but they do so in different ways. Both groups have valuable and complementary knowledge and expertise, and thus both should be involved in planning and execution of water programmes. The specific responsibilities women have in water for different purposes give them expertise which is vital in the search for the most cost-effective decisions and management.

Equity. Efforts to attain sustainable development will only succeed if the needs of all water users are addressed. These include female-headed households (currently one third of the world’s households), women farmers and those running small businesses. Women and children spend countless hours in carrying water over long distances, and looking for places for sanitation. Convenient access to water and sanitation would improve women’s health and would enable women and girls to take advantage of educational and training opportunities that can help them combat poverty.

Realisatie door Four Digits op basis van Plone.