Gender in Water Resources Management, Water Supply and Sanitaton

Gender in Water Resources Management, Water Supply and Sanitaton
Roles and Realities Revisited

IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre 1998

This book investigates how gender is present in the newly emerging principles on the sustainable management of water resources. The book also reviews how these genderspecified principles are currently applied in the water supply, sanitation and hygiene sector. Operationalization has developed farthest in new drinking water supply services. Participation of women alongside men in planning, design, maintenance and management
has brought distinct benefits to the functioning and use of the systems and created more equal chances for training and functions of women and men. Yet a true gender balance, in which benefits, burdens and control are shared equitably for optimal service sustainability and development results remains to be achieved.

In comparison, sanitation development and management lag behind. Yet improved sanitation has tremendous benefits in that it prevents the contamination of water and soil and improves public health. A gender approach in sanitation recognizes and responds to male-female differences in demand, work and opportunities in the different population strata. It helps redress the sanitation imbalance and offers new chances for men and
women to jointly manage their own environment and programmes.  While women have initially been bypassed in modern water and sanitation management, men have been neglected in hygiene improvements. In a gender approach in hygiene education the division of work, resources and decision-making between men and women is investigated and each sex is addressed on their own areas of authority, skills and responsibility. This prevents that additional and unpaid hygiene work goes only to women and girls and responsibilitilies of men for work, resource provision and own behaviour chance are overlooked.

The use of a simple gender analysis instrument, which is described in the book’s first chapter, has helped in analysing the above developments and is recommended for maintreaming gender as part of programme planning, appraisal and monitoring and evaluation.