The role of women is critical in shaping an equal future.
Women bring irreplaceable contributions to decisions, policies, and laws when their experiences, perspectives, and skills are brought to the table. The pandemic has highlighted both the cruciality of the contributions of women and the disproportionate burdens that women carry. And while this is true in the pandemic context, astonishingly, it also continues to ring true period.
Women earn less than men. Women are under-represented in positions of power. Women are over-represented in low-paying jobs. Women are less likely to own land. And the list goes on.
There are undeniable ‘gender gaps’ in the world we live in.
With more acceptance than ever before of this core truth, our Technology for Sustainable Water Resource Governance project is spotlighting and addressing the gender gaps that continue to exist in the context of water.
Only by acknowledging and understanding the causes of gender gaps is it possible to promote the equitable participation of both men and women and to move towards respectful, equitable practices as it relates to water management.
Workshops with Community Water Committees have provided a space to openly explore questions of gender equity: Who participates? Who has the power? Who makes the decisions? In this context, communities have identified six key gender gaps related to water:
One of the topics that generated much dialogue among participants was the socially-accepted gender-based division of labour within the household and the community. As women still do the majority of the domestic and care-giving work, as well as often engaging in paid work outside the home, this leaves them with little time to be involved in community work, and reduces their access to decision-making spaces. The social bias against women in public roles discourages some women from filling positions in the Community Water Committee boards or other community leadership roles.
Since 2019, the Technology for Sustainable Water Resource Governance project has been providing water management training equally to men and women, seeking to level the playing field and encouraging women to pursue positions of leadership.