Water Rich, Resource Poor: Intersections of Gender, Poverty, and Vulnerability in Newly Irrigated Areas of Southeastern Turkey


Harris, Leila M. 2008. “Water Rich, Resource Poor: Intersections of Gender, Poverty, and Vulnerability in Newly Irrigated Areas of Southeastern Turkey.” World Development 36 (12): 2643–62.

Author: Leila M. Harris


The provision of water for drinking and irrigation is often assumed to alleviate poverty, though results are likely to be mixed for different individuals. This paper examines the intersections of gender poverty, livelihoods, landlessness, and related considerations in the context of large-scale water development in Turkey’s Southeastern Anatolia region, particularly exploring what such an analysis allows for an understanding of variable and differentiated effects of ongoing changes. Findings suggest that certain populations experience enhanced vulnerabilities, and considerable losses, in addition to any gains and benefits of ongoing changes (particularly the landless, poor, some women, and those who previously engaged in animal husbandry). This discussion contributes to a growing gender and water literature, arguing for an intersectional analysis that understands gender as necessarily conditioned by poverty, livelihoods, and other factors. Further, I argue for the need to further enrich analyses of differentiated benefits and vulnerabilities of water-related changes through consideration of geographic, spatial, and place-specific dimensions.

Keywords: gender, water, irrigation, poverty, development, middle east, Turkey

Topics: Economies, Poverty, Gender, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Livelihoods Regions: MENA, Asia, Europe, Southern Europe Countries: Turkey

Year: 2008

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