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Water and Gender


Among the many water-related challenges worldwide, the crisis of scarcity, deteriorating water quality, the linkages between water and food security, and the need for improved governance are the most significant in the context of gender differences in access to and control over water resources.


Water policies based on broad, generalized perspectives are more likely to omit local knowledge, and social and gender dimensions and their implications. Recognizing the various purposes for which these local water resources are used by different groups of men and women in the community would help to successfully integrate gender considerations, not only in water resource management, but also in sectors such as urban water supply, agriculture, industry and energy that depend upon water resources, and which often conflict over water allocations and their demand for freshwater resources.


There is enough evidence to show that integrating a gender-sensitive approach to development can have a positive impact on the effectiveness and sustainability of water interventions and on the conservation of water resources. Involving both men and women in the design and implementation of interventions leads to effective new solutions to water problems; helps governments to avoid poor investments and expensive mistakes; makes projects more sustainable; ensures that infrastructure development yields the maximum social and economic returns; and furthers development goals, such as reducing hunger, child mortality and improving gender equality.


Source: World Water Development Report 2012

Last update:06 Feb 2014