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Water & Sanitation

Without Water, There Is No Life’: Negotiating Everyday Risks and Gendered Insecurities in Karachi’s Informal Settlements


Anwar, Nausheen H., Amiera Sanas, and Daanish Mustafa. 2020. “‘Without Water, There Is No Life’: Negotiating Everyday Risks and Gendered Insecurities in Karachi’s Informal Settlements.” Urban Studies 56 (6): 1320-37.

Authors: Nausheen H. Anwar, Amiera Sanas, Daanish Mustafa


This article provides new insights into the politics of water provisioning in Karachi’s informal settlements, where water shortages and contaminations have pushed ordinary citizens to live on the knife edge of water scarcity. We turn our attention to the everyday practices that involve gendered insecurities of water in Karachi, which has been Pakistan’s security laboratory for decades. We explore four shifting security logics that strongly contribute to the crisis of water provisioning at the neighbourhood level and highlight an emergent landscape of ‘securitised water’. Gender maps the antagonisms between these security logics, so we discuss the impacts on ordinary women and men as they experience chronic water shortages. In Karachi, a patriarchal stereotype of the militant or terrorist-controlled water supply is wielded with the aim of upholding statist national security concerns that undermine women’s and men’s daily security in water provisioning whereby everyday issues of risk and insecurity appear politically inconsequential. We contend that risk has a very gendered nature and it is women that experience it both in the home and outside.



Keywords: exclusion, gender, infrastructure, politics, poverty, security, social justice, water, 关键词, 排斥, 性别, 基础设施, 政治, 贫困, 安全, 社会正义, 水

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Terrorism, Security Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Pakistan

Year: 2020

Intersections of Gender and Water: Comparative Approaches to Everyday Gendered Negotiations of Water Access in Underserved Areas of Accra, Ghana and Cape Town, South Africa


Harris, L., D. Kleiber, J. Goldin, A. Darkwah, and C. Morinville. 2016. "Intersections of Gender and Water: Comparative Approaches to Everyday Gendered Negotiations of Water Access in Underserved Areas of Accra, Ghana and Cape Town, South Africa." Journal of Gender Studies 26 (5): 561-82.

Authors: L. Harris, D. Kleiber, J. Goldin, A. Darkwah, C. Morinville


A large and growing body of literature suggests that women and men often have differentiated relationships to water access, uses, knowledges, governance, and experiences. From a feminist political ecology perspective, these relationships can be mediated by gendered labour practices (within the household, at the community level, or within the workplace), socio-cultural expectations (e.g. related to notions of masculinity and femininity), as well as intersectional differences (e.g. race, income, and so forth). While these relationships are complex, multiple, and vary by context, it is frequently argued that due to responsibility for domestic provision or other pathways, women may be particularly affected if water quality or access is compromised. This paper reports on a statistical evaluation of a 478 household survey conducted in underserved areas of Accra, Ghana and Cape Town, South Africa in early 2012. Interrogating our survey results in the light of the ideas of gender differentiated access, uses, knowledges, governance, and experiences of water, we open up considerations related to the context of each of our study sites, and also invite possible revisions and new directions for these debates. In particular, we are interested in the instances where differences among male and female respondents were less pronounced than expected. Highlighting these unexpected results we find it helpful to draw attention to methods – in particular we argue that a binary male–female approach is not that meaningful for the analysis, and instead, gender analysis requires some attention to intersectional differences (e.g. homeownership, employment, or age). We also make the case for the importance of combining qualitative and quantitative work to understand these relationships, as well as opening up what might be learned by more adequately exploring the resonances and tensions between these approaches.

Keywords: Ghana, South Africa, gender, water, methods, triangulation, intersectionality

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Gender, Gender Analysis, Governance, Households, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Intersectionality, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana, South Africa

Year: 2016

Water Conservation Awareness and Practices in Households Receiving Improved Water Supply: A Gender-Based Analysis


Tong, Yan, Liangxin Fan, and Haipeng Niu. 2017. "Water Conservation Awareness and Practices in Households Receiving Improved Water Supply: A Gender-Based Analysis." Journal of Cleaner Production 141: 947-55.

Authors: Yan Tong, Liangxin Fan, Haipeng Niu


Adoption of water conservation practices (WCPs) is essential to save water. However, the factors that affect changes in behaviour related to water consumption remain unclear, particularly those related to gender differences and women's views towards WCPs. These factors often result in ineffective public policies. In this study, we analysed the effects of consciousness, perceptions and individual behaviour control towards WCPs, as well as the influence of gender (i.e. male and female) on residents' WCPs via a detailed survey of 622 residents (female: 318, male: 304) in rural northern China. Data were analysed using a one-way ANOVA and structural equation model. The respondents had a high degree of awareness of WCPs but reported low participation in WCPs, particularly among male users. Female users consumed twice as much water and adopted more WCPs than male users. Saving water bill was the main incentive for female users to practise WCPs, whereas that for male users was to alleviate water supply shortage. Daily routine changes and additional time and physical efforts were the main barriers for WCPs, particularly for male users. In addition, WCPs of male users were highly affected by individual behaviour control and attitude towards conservation, whereas for female users, WCPs were highly affected by expected results and social norms. The significant gender disparities in the results emphasise the need to ensure information transparency and communication across gender, users, and authorities in public policies and community programs to fix gender gaps and to enhance adoption of WCPs by the public.

Keywords: domestic water consumption, water-use behavior, gender disparity, survey, Rural China

Topics: Gender, Women, Men, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: China

Year: 2017

Drinking Water and Off-Farm Labour Supply: Between-Gender and Within-Gender Bias


Zhou, Li, and Calum G. Turvey. 2018. "Drinking Water and Off-Farm Labour Supply: Between-Gender and Within-Gender Bias." Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 62 (1): 103-20.

Authors: Li Zhou, Calum G. Turvey


In this paper, we use the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS) panel data to analyse the impact of drinking water on off-farm labour supply. A two-stage least squares (2SLS) multivariate Tobit regression model with random effects was applied. We find that impacts of drinking water conditions on off-farm labour supply may be greater for women than men but depends on the specific family role or family structure. A strong within-gender effect exists in households. For example, daughters are not sensitive to water access nor water quality, but householder's spouses are sensitive to water access, and daughters-in-law are sensitive to water quality. Our findings suggest that infrastructure development in improved access to safe water has contributed positively to reductions in traditional gender biases, evening the playing field between daughters, daughters-in-law, mothers and mothers-in-law. We also find that water the infrastructure program may actually encourage off-farm labour mobility, reducing the supply of agricultural labour and the share of household labour on the farm. Thus, a broader approach to water policy should also include public investment in achieving greater labour efficiency and productivity.

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: China

Year: 2018

Post-Disaster Recovery in the Cyclone Aila Affected Coastline of Bangladesh: Women's Role, Challenges and Opportunities


Alam, Khurshed, and Md. Habibur Rahman. 2019. "Post-Disaster Recovery in the Cyclone Aila Affected Coastline of Bangladesh: Women's Role, Challenges and Opportunities." Natural Hazards 96: 1067-90.

Authors: Khurshed Alam, Md. Habibur Rahman


The present study deals with the gender aspects of water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) situation in post-cyclone Aila period in Bangladesh. Data were collected using participatory approaches like individual interview, key informant interview, focus group discussion and field level observation. Study reveals that after Aila, women had to travel 500 m–2 km per day to fetch water from safe water sources spending 30–90 min. People used pit and hanging latrines, uncovered water framed latrines as well as had open defecation. Considering the impromptu needs, government and other aid-giving agencies focused on immediate WaSH programme. The paper is an outcome of a critical assessment of those arduous efforts made to overcome the WaSH challenges after Aila, particularly women’s role in and challenges faced by them to improving the situation. Also attempt has been made to examine the opportunities and challenges of sustainability of WaSH programme pursued in the post-disaster period. For recovery of the WaSH system, a two-part strategy was followed where one was to make technology (tubewell, pond and filter, saline purification and rainwater harvesting plants) that supporting social arrangement and another was social arrangement (group formation, capacity building on construction, operation and maintenance) that supporting technology. A techno-social contingent model has been followed for addressing the post-disaster WaSH situation following a WasH approach. Women’s these roles in meeting the households’ WaSH requirements might be called WaSH-feminism. The main finding is that although there was a technical challenge to overcome the water and sanitation crises, after the disaster a set of appropriate technologies could remove it considerably, but a corresponding social arrangement was required there to operate it. Many kinds of technical and social limiting factors were there for women that could be removed partly but not totally.

Topics: Environment, Environmental Disasters, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Bangladesh

Year: 2019

Water Insecurity in 3 Dimensions: An Anthropological Perspective on Water and Women's Psychosocial Distress in Ethiopia


Stevenson, Edward G. J., Leslie E. Greene, Kenneth C. Maes, Argaw Ambelu, Yihenew Alemu Tesfaye, Richard Rheingans, and Craig Hadley. 2012. "Water Insecurity in 3 Dimensions: An Anthropological Perspective on Water and Women's Psychosocial Distress in Ethiopia." Social Science & Medicine 75 (2): 392-400.

Authors: Edward G. J. Stevenson, Leslie E. Greene, Kenneth C. Maes, Argaw Ambelu, Yihenew Alemu Tesfaye, Richard Rheingans, Craig Hadley


Water insecurity is a primary underlying determinant of global health disparities. While public health research on water insecurity has focused mainly on two dimensions, water access and adequacy, an anthropological perspective highlights the cultural or lifestyle dimension of water insecurity, and its implications for access/adequacy and for the phenomenology of water insecurity. Recent work in Bolivia has shown that scores on a water insecurity scale derived from ethnographic observations are associated with emotional distress. We extend this line of research by assessing the utility of a locally developed water insecurity scale, compared with standard measures of water access and adequacy, in predicting women's psychosocial distress in Ethiopia. In 2009-2010 we conducted two phases of research. Phase I was mainly qualitative and designed to identify locally relevant experiences of water insecurity, and Phase II used a quantitative survey to test the association between women's reported water insecurity and the Falk Self-Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ-F), a measure of psychosocial distress. In multiple regression models controlling for food insecurity and reported quantity of water used, women's water insecurity scores were significantly associated with psychosocial distress. Including controls for time required to collect water and whether water sources were protected did not further predict psychosocial distress. This approach highlights the social dimension of water insecurity, and may be useful for informing and evaluating interventions to improve water supplies.

Keywords: water insecurity, gender, psychosocial distress, mental health, africa

Topics: Gender, Women, Health, Mental Health, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Ethiopia

Year: 2012

Engendering Cities: Designing Sustainable Urban Spaces for All


Sánchez de Madariaga, Inés, and Michael Neuman, eds. 2020. Engendering Cities: Designing Sustainable Urban Spaces for All. New York: Routledge.

Authors: Inés Sánchez de Madariaga, Michael Neuman


Engendering Cities examines the contemporary research, policy, and practice of designing for gender in urban spaces. Gender matters in city design, yet despite legislative mandates across the globe to provide equal access to services for men and women alike, these issues are still often overlooked or inadequately addressed. This book looks at critical aspects of contemporary cities regarding gender, including topics such as transport, housing, public health, education, caring, infrastructure, as well as issues which are rarely addressed in planning, design, and policy, such as the importance of toilets for education and clothes washers for freeing-up time. In the first section, a number of chapters in the book assess past, current, and projected conditions in cities vis-à-vis gender issues and needs. In the second section, the book assesses existing policy, planning, and design efforts to improve women’s and men’s concerns in urban living. Finally, the book proposes changes to existing policies and practices in urban planning and design, including its thinking (theory) and norms (ethics).
The book applies the current scholarship on theory and practice related to gender in a planning context, elaborating on some critical community-focused reflections on gender and design. It will be key reading for scholars and students of planning, architecture, design, gender studies, sociology, anthropology, geography, and political science. It will also be of interest to practitioners and policy makers, providing discussion of emerging topics in the field. (Summary from Routledge)

Table of Contents:
1.Planning the Gendered City
Inés Sánchez de Madariaga and Michael Neuman

2.A Gendered View of Mobility and Transport: Next Steps and Future Directions
Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris

3.Gendered Mobility Patterns of Carers in Austria
Bente Knoll and Teresa Schwaninge

4.Violence Against Women in Moving Transportation in Indian Cities: Reconceptualising Gendered Transport Policy
Yamini Narayanan

5.Planning Mobility in Portugal with a Gender Perspective
Margarida Queirós and Nuno Marques da Costa

6.Implementation of Gender and Diversity Perspectives in Transport Development Plans in Germany
Elena von den Driesch, Linda Steuer, Tobias Berg, and Carmen Leicht-Scholten

7.Why Low-Income Women in the U.S. Need Automobiles
Evelyn Blumenberg

8.Public Toilets: The Missing Component in Designing Sustainable Urban Spaces for Women
Clara Greed

9.Are Safe Cities Just Cities? A Perspective from France
Lucile Biarrotte and Claire Hancock

10.Everyday Life Experiences of Afghan Immigrant Women as Representation of their Place of Belonging in Auckland
Roja Tafaroji

11.Gender Mainstreaming in the Regional Discourse over the Future of the Ruhr Metropolitan Area: Implementation of Gender Mainstreaming in Planning Processes
Jeanette Sebrantke, Mechtild Stiewe, Sibylle Kelp-Siekmann, and Gudrun Kemmler-Lehr

12.An Analysis of EU Urban Policy from the Perspective of Gender
Sonia De Gregorio Hurtado

13.Gender Mainstreaming Urban Planning and Design Processes in Greece
Charis Christodoulou

14.Gendering the Design of Cities in Aotearoa New Zealand: Are We There Yet?
Dory Reeves, Julie Fairey, Jade Kake, Emma McInnes, and Eva Zombori

15.Gender Impact Assessments, a Tool for the Implementation of the New Urban Agenda: The Case of Madrid Nuevo Norte
Ines Novella Abril

16.Gender and the Urban in the 21st Century: Paving Way to ‘Another’ Gender Mainstreaming
Camilla Perrone

17.Epilogue: Unifying Difference and Equality Concepts to Buttress Policy
Inés Sánchez de Madariaga

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Urban Displacement, Development, Economies, Care Economies, Economic Inequality, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Gender Mainstreaming, Health, Infrastructure, Transportation, Urban Planning, Water & Sanitation Regions: Americas, North America, Asia, South Asia, Europe, Central Europe, Southern Europe, Western Europe, Oceania Countries: Austria, Germany, Greece, India, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, United States of America

Year: 2020

Water Access in Changing Climate in Bangladesh: A Study of Social Impacts on Women who Manage Household Water


Islam, M. Rafiqul. 2020. "Water Access in Changing Climate in Bangladesh: A Study of Social Impacts on Women who Manage Household Water." Bandung 7 (1): 107-29.

Author: M. Rafiqul Islam


Access to water depends on the availability of water but climate change impact such as sea level rise, increase frequency and intensity of cyclone, floods, and erratic rainfall reduces the availability of water by either polluting water sources or damaging water supply and management infrastructure. Women are the worst victims of climate change regarding water access as they are primarily responsible for managing water for the household. This study focuses on how climate change is responsible for reducing water access and subsequently bear on women in addressing the water crisis problem. The study found that women face challenges in access to water that affect them in terms of less time, physical and mental health problems, sexual assault/harassment, violence in the household, reduce their income, children’s education, early marriage, divorce, and make more difficult to perform their responsibility. Initiatives should be taken to enhance water access for women on a priority basis.

Keywords: access to water, availability of water, climate change impact, water crises, women, Rainwater harvesting

Topics: Education, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Health, Mental Health, Households, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Sexual Violence, SV against women

Year: 2020

Climate Change and Women in South Asia: A Review and Future Policy Implications


Patel, Sangram Kishor, Gopal Agrawal, Bincy Mathew, Sunita Patel, Biswajit Mohanty, and Abhishek Singh. 2019. "Climate Change and Women in South Asia: A Review and Future Policy Implications." World Journal of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development 17 (2): 145-66.

Authors: Sangram Kishor Patel, Gopal Agrawal, Bincy Mathew, Sunita Patel, Biswajit Mohanty, Abhishek Singh


Purpose: South Asian region is a focal point owing to its vulnerabilities to climate-sensitive diseases, dependence on climate-sensitive livelihoods, projected levels of crop decline in the region, and high rates of poverty and malnutrition. Women are particularly vulnerable to climate change and this affects women disproportionately during different extreme events. The purpose of this paper is to understand the issue of climate change and its impact, and climate resilience among women in South Asia. Further, it also identifies the gaps and suggests future policy implications. 

Design/methodology/approach: Climate change is increasingly being recognised as an alarming issue and the present review is important when South Asian countries are facing the brunt of climate change impacts. This paper tries to understand the issue by review of the literature and conceptual framework methodology. To understand women’s vulnerability due to climate change and its aftermath, the authors conducted both offline and online desk reviews for this study. 
Findings: The findings of this study show a clear linkage between climate change and women’s vulnerabilities in South Asia. Climate change has significant socio-economic impacts on women, and it affects them disproportionately in various domains of agriculture, livelihood, food security, both physical and mental health, water and sanitation in the South Asia region. 
Practical implications: The paper also highlights that the programmes that aim at combating the effects of climate change require a gender-sensitive approach so that climate change does not obstruct the development and reduction of poverty in the region. 
Social implications: The findings of this paper will add value in helping families to come out of poverty by undertaking adaptive measures with proactive assistance from the government and grassroots level organisations. 
Originality/value: The present study also advocates for more gender- and climate-sensitive measures from governments, and implementation of intervention- and evidence-based research in the South Asian countries.


Keywords: women, Resilience, climate change, South Asia, extreme events

Topics: Agriculture, Economies, Poverty, Environment, Climate Change, Health, Mental Health, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Livelihoods, Security, Food Security Regions: Asia, South Asia

Year: 2019

Decentralised, Off-Grid Solar Pump Irrigation Systems in Developing Countries - Are They Pro-Poor, Pro-Environment and Pro-Women?


Wong, Sam. 2019. "Decentralised, Off-Grid Solar Pump Irrigation Systems in Developing Countries - Are They Pro-Poor, Pro-Environment and Pro-Women?" In Climate Change-Resilient Agriculture and Agroforestry, edited by Paula Castro, Anabela Marisa Azul, Walter Leal Filho, and Ulisses M. Azeiteiro, 367-82. Cham: Springer, Cham.

Author: Sam Wong


This systematic, evidence-based literature review examines the effectiveness of localised solar-powered small-scale irrigation systems (PVPs) in poverty reduction, environmental conservation and gender empowerment in developing countries. It suggests that PVPs are able to enhance farmers’ adaptive capacity by raising agricultural productivity and their incomes. They also help mitigate climate change by reducing CO2 emissions. The distribution of the benefits and costs, brought by PVPs, is, however, so uncertain that requires further scrutiny. PVPs are successful in rising energy-water efficiency, but the environmental trade-offs with the underground water depletion and e-wastes requires solutions. Using PVPs to achieve gender equalities may only be materialised if the structural discrimination against women in land ownership and access to resources is challenged, along with the interventions of PVPs in rural communities. This book chapter recommends more in-depth and longitudinal studies to explore the complex and long-term implications of PVPs. More evidence is also needed to assess the effectiveness of governance reforms in access of PVPs in poor communities.

Topics: Agriculture, Economies, Poverty, Environment, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation

Year: 2019


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