Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version

Water & Sanitation

Toward a Broader Perspective

Citation:

Bennett, Vivienne, Sonia Dávila-Poblete, and María Nieves Rico. 2005. “Toward a Broader Perspective.” In Opposing Currents: The Politics of Water and Gender in Latin America, edited by Vivienne Bennett, Sonia Dávila-Poblete, and María Nieves Rico, 190-207. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press.

Authors: Vivienne Bennett, Sonia Dávila-Poblete, María Nieves Rico

Annotation:

This concluding chapter threads the various strands of research explored in prior chapters of the book into a comprehensive framework for thinking about the meaningful inclusion of women in water management systems. The authors argue that the neoliberal privatization model associated with globalization transforms water from a human right to an economic good. Case studies showed that the resulting marketization and inflation of water prices prompted women to mobilize and assume positions of leadership by pursuing strategies specific to their status as women and their complex relationships to water. Furthermore, the authors explore women’s participation in water projects, both in the context of management and technology transfer, and find that intentional inclusion of women in participation can have a profound ripple effect on the society as a whole. First, however, the nexus of cultural and socioeconomic barriers impeding women’s equitable participation in water management must be overcome. The authors conclude with recommendations for orienting future research and policy making decisions concerning women and water.

Quotes:

“In its broadest send, the participatory approach is part of the search for a more equitable distribution of the social benefits that can derive from development. It implies that citizenship must be fully exercised by both men and women, respecting the right of every citizen to be involved in matters that affect them… From a gender perspective, participation plays a central role in achieving gender equity and is not conceived of in a pragmatic or instrumentalist form but as the right of both men and women to actively influence decision making and to have a say with real power in the processes that affect them.” (197)

“When women’s informally obtained experience, abilities, and knowledge are acknowledged and valued, their participation in managing water systems is greater and the belief that irrigation work is an exclusively male activity is undermined. As the work carried out by women in managing water systems becomes more visible, women’s roles in the decision-making process of water management will grow, leading in turn to greater recognition of women’s abilities and then to broader changes in gender relations.” (199)

“Experience shows that participation cannot be mandated by decree; it is part of a profound cultural change that has to permeate all social actors. The participatory approach will never generate all its potential benefits if governments or those in charge of programs and projects only allow it when they need to comply with a legal requirement or when they have to implement the recommendations of international agencies. True participation implies embracing a process of community empowerment and adapting institutions so they can support and maintain such strategies in the long run.” (203)

“Four overarching conclusions regarding water and gender emerge from the book. First, the elimination of gender biases is a key mechanism for increasing the effectiveness and reach of water sector investments… Second, equitable planning implies that heterogenous and competing priorities for water usage must be respected… Third, investments in the water sector alter power dynamics at all levels...Fourth, and finally, for gender biases in the water sector to be eliminated there must be an enabling environment. It is not enough to talk about what is needed; formal structures must be created that move the process forward.” (207)

Topics: Citizenship, Economies, Economic Inequality, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Globalization, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, International Organizations Regions: Americas, Central America, South America

Year: 2005

Women and Water in the Northern Ecuadorian Andes

Citation:

Bastidas, Elena P. 2005. “Women and Water in the Northern Ecuadorian Andes,” In Opposing Currents: The Politics of Water and Gender in Latin America, edited by Vivienne Bennett, Sonia Dávila-Poblete, and María Nieves Rico, 155-169. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press.

Author: Elena P. Bastidas

Annotation:

Quotes:

“This case study shows that participation of women in user groups and WUA meetings is low (9 percent). A major reason for this low participation is the cultural barriers women face when they are with men, which inhibit their participation. The study demonstrates the importance of household composition and family life cycle as factors influencing the opportunities and challenges that shape women’s participation in rural water management. In this case, a gender analysis highlights not only that men and women have varying priorities regarding water, but also that different women have different priorities regarding water because of their different roles and responsibilities, which are not static but change over time.” (169)

“One condition for ensuring that women’s voices are heard and that a higher degree of female participation is achieved in the WUAs is recognizing women as resource user and managers. The study demonstrates the crucial role of women in the provision of water for domestic use as well as their important role in irrigated agriculture.” (169)

Topics: Civil Society, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Ecuador

Year: 2005

Participatory Management: Who Participates

Citation:

Athukorala, Kusum, and Margreet Zwarteveen. 1994. “Participatory Management: Who Participates.” Economic Review 20 (6): 22–5.

Authors: Kusum Athukorala, Margreet Zwarteveen

Abstract:

The Gender Program of the International Irrigation Management Institute (IIMI) is currently undertaking a study which examines, among other things, some of the constraints to female participation in Farmer Organizations. To this end, IIMl's Gender Program is conducting detailed field studies in three sites - Rajangane, Mahaweli System H and Gampola Raja Ela- which were chosen to include the three Participatory Management  Programs which are currently being implemented in Sri Lanka: Management of Irrigation Schemes (MANIS), Integrated Management of Major Irrigation Schemes (INMAS) and Mahaweli. Some first findings of these studies will be presented here.

The success of all three Participatory Management Programs in Sri Lanka stands or falls with the development of strong and competent Farmer Organizations (FOs). FOs are expected to assume part of the responsibilities and costs of operating and maintaining irrigation infrastructures, in return for which they should get a better, more reliable and more equitable access to irrigation water. The question this brief article aims to address is to what extent strong FOs, which represent the needs and interests of the main end users of irrigation services, can be expected to emerge when women are inadvertently excluded from participation.

Annotation:

Quotes:

“The fact that men and women have distinct responsibilities with respect to irrigated agriculture implies that women have specific knowledge about irrigated agriculture and specific needs with respect to irrigation. This in itself would justify some sort of female involvement in FOs, unless of course men do adequately represent women's concerns at meetings. The field data do not support such a hypothesis. Although there are some farming couples who make most of the farming decisions together, in many households men and women have different objectives and perspectives.” (23)

“Irrigation, irrigated agriculture and irrigation management tend to be thought of as all male affairs. The study shows that this is an inaccurate perception of the reality in irrigation systems. Because of their high involvement in field activities as well as decisionmaking, women as well as men can and should be considered an interest group in irrigation systems.” (25)

Topics: Agriculture, Civil Society, Gender, Women, Men, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, International Organizations Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 1994

Water as a Source of Equity and Empowerment in Costa Rica

Citation:

Aguilar, Lorena. 2005. “Water as a Source of Equity and Empowerment in Costa Rica.” In Opposing Currents: The Politics of Water and Gender in Latin America, edited by Vivienne Bennett, Sonia Dávila-Poblete, and María Nieves Rico, 123-134. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press.

Author: Lorena Aguilar

Annotation:

This chapter reflects Aguilar’s ethnographic study on community participation water management projects in Heredia Province, Costa Rica. Aguilar details the ways in which her project team addressed entrenched masculinities and gender inequities at every stage of the development process and how they ultimately found that training both men and women in the technical aspects of water infrastructure creation left a profound impact on gender relations in the community. For development projects to be successful, Aguilar argues, they must pursue equitable and participatory gender relations: a complex goal that Aguilar and her team achieved by training men and women together as water resource “facilitators”-- thus training both parties not only in the technical side of water management, but in leadership skills such as decision-making and organization strategies.

Quotes:

“Because of the historical subordination suffered by women, they are often not taken into account and can often feel they have no right to an opinion or to express their needs or desires. This means it is critical to create mechanisms and to offer training that allows women to strengthen their self-esteem, increase their possibilities for participating, and ensure that their contributions and work are valued. This facilitates a process where both women and men make decisions and contribute ideas, while recognizing and appropriating their own reality.” (125)

“The process of training communal facilitators fulfilled its main purpose, as it successfully left people in the community responsible for the “technical” implementation of the project. But the training of both male and female facilitators transcended the technical aspects, changing their relationships with their community and families, as women as well as men began to be respected by other community members. Today, many of them are considered community leaders.” (131)

Topics: Civil Society, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: Costa Rica

Year: 2005

An Issue of Environmental Justice: Understanding the Relationship Among HIV/AIDS Infection in Women, Water Distribution, and Global Investment in Rural Sub-Saharan Africa

Citation:

Lewis, Nghana. 2009. “An Issue of Environmental Justice: Understanding the Relationship Among HIV/AIDS Infection in Women, Water Distribution, and Global Investment in Rural Sub-Saharan Africa.” Black Women, Gender & Families 3 (1): 39–64.

Author: Nghana Lewis

Abstract:

This essay contributes to debates about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women of African descent by juxtaposing two challenges facing rural sub-Saharan African women today: HIV/AIDS and the water crisis. When analyzed in juxtaposition and in the specific context of rural sub-Saharan Africa, the HIV/AIDS and water crises represent an issue of environmental justice. The remediation of these two crises requires comprehension of the interrelations among the political history of sub-Saharan Africa. It requires an understanding of the policies driving global relief efforts that target rural sub-Saharan populations. And it requires insight into the socioeconomic needs of rural sub-Saharan African women as well as the cultural resources among this population that can be mobilized to help resolve the problem.

Annotation:

Lewis argues that the origin of the current water and health crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa can be traced at least in part to the abrupt societal structural shifts that came about as a result of decolonization. Lewis’s descriptions of the formative reconstruction (and the heavy privatization) that took place in Africa after the colonial system broke down reflect the development processes that take place in post-conflict areas. The crux of the article is Lewis’s argument that the HIV/AIDS epidemic should be framed as a crisis of environmental justice and that doing so would not only facilitate unprecedented public and private sector engagement at the intersection of water and women’s health, but would also empower women with knowledge and resources needed to connect their daily struggles with HIV/AIDS to the politics of water scarcity.

Quotes:

“There is no question that the illicit economic and political engineering that took place during Africa’s period of decolonization to vest authority in African elites provides the proper context for comprehending the exigencies of sub-Saharan Africa’s current water crisis.” (46)

“In their daily search for clean water, women in rural sub-Saharan Africa literally and symbolically walk the social, economic, and geographic paths along which, scholars argue, the HIV/AIDS epidemic can be mapped.” (48)

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Development, Environment, Gender, Women, Health, HIV/AIDS, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, International Organizations Regions: Africa

Year: 2009

Water: Gender and Material Inequalities in the Global South

Citation:

Crow, Ben. 2001. “Water: Gender and Material Inequalities in the Global South.” Working Paper, Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz.

Author: Ben Crow

Abstract:

Because water is pivotal for health and livelihoods, inadequate access to water may be a significant cause of poverty and conflict. Poor access to clean water for drinking causes ill health. Poor access to water for agriculture and other livelihoods may be a cause of material deprivation. How people get access to water is surprisingly complex and varied. That access involves natural conditions, human tools and social practices. This paper is about modes of access to water, the main social and technical conditions through which people gain command over water. Modes of access have particular characteristics. Some are free, others cost money. Some, like well-water, require work on the part of the water consumer, while other modes of access, like piped water, may entail little work. The potential for change and for sustainable use of water may also vary according to the mode of access. Water deprivation is widespread, and at the beginning of the twenty-first century it has to be tackled under unpromising conditions. Scarcity is increasing and government action is becoming more constrained. These circumstances demand innovation if water deprivation is to be tackled effectively. That innovation will require us to understand the technical, social and natural dynamics of the main modes of water access.

Annotation:

This working paper explores various modes of access to water in rural areas of the global South and the role that water plays as an impetus for and a reflection of societal inequality. Crow focuses specifically on material and gender inequalities as the main causes of diminished water access which subsequently impinge on individuals’ ability to achieve their full potential in terms of livelihood and / or economic prosperity. Crow disaggregates rural water access into five different modes--private ownership, common property access, open access, state-backed provision, and market access-- and details ways in which each access point has the capacity to create and to perpetuate material and gender inequalities.

Quotes:

“In Bangladesh, and in other parts of South Asia, the unregulated use of private pumps has thus created inequality between the use of deep tubewells for irrigation and the use of handpumps for drinking. This is a largely unreported, conflict over water in which the dominant, and male-dominated, priority of government, economic growth, clashes with lesser priorities of government, health and domestic water supply, reflecting women’s practical interests.” (12)

Topics: Economies, Economic Inequality, Poverty, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Health, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Bangladesh

Year: 2001

Gender, Class, and Access to Water: Three Cases in a Poor and Crowded Delta

Citation:

Crow, Ben, and Farhana Sultana. 2002. “Gender, Class, and Access to Water: Three Cases in a Poor and Crowded Delta.” Society & Natural Resources 15 (8): 709–24. doi:10.1080/08941920290069308.

Authors: Ben Crow, Farhana Sultana

Abstract:

Water plays a pivotal role in economic activity and in human well-being. Because of the prominence of water in production (primarily for irrigation) and in domestic use (drinking, washing, cooking), conflict over water and the effects of gender-influenced decisions about water may have far-reaching consequences on human well-being, economic growth, and social change. At the same time, social conflicts and social change are shaped and mediated, often in unexpected ways, by the natural conditions in which water occurs. The social relations of water are poorly understood. This article introduces a framework for disaggregating conditions of access to water and uses it to examine three pressing questions in Bangladesh. First, extraction of groundwater for irrigation has made many drinking-water hand pumps run dry. Second, increasing use of groundwater for drinking has been associated with the poisoning of at least 20 million people through naturally occurring arsenic in groundwater. Third, the article examines some of the ways access to water has been changed by the rise of shrimp aquaculture for export. This article highlights new directions for the analysis of interactions among water, class, and gender. The existing literature has tended to focus on the implications of gender analysis for government policy, especially development projects and water resources management, and for women’s organization. In this article we begin to sketch some questions that arise from a concern to understand the broader context of social change.

Annotation:

In this article, Crow and Sultana use case studies from rural Bangladesh to investigate the influence of gender and material inequalities on modes of access to water and further to analyze how the intersection of gender and water can be conceptualized as a vehicle for social change. The authors identify gender-based divisions of labor, male-dominated private ownership, and policy discourses skewed towards emphasizing economic over domestic water usage, as the primary mechanisms by which gender relations impact water security and access. The expansion of irrigation projects, especially ground-pumping tube wells, illustrates how water can be used as a tool for perpetuating societal inequalities. For, the material benefits of new irrigation projects are almost entirely dependent on whether or not one controls land and the rights to its resources-- control that is consistently situated in the hands of men. Crow and Sultana perform gendered analyses of other Bangladesh-specific cases to illustrate the importance of taking gender into account at all levels of development processes.

Quotes:

“The quality, reliability, and costs of water for a particular household will be influenced by a range of characteristics including conditions of the water source, geographic location of the household or enterprise in relation to the water source, past social investments in water infrastructure, and the social, economic, and even political position of a household.” (711)

“Material deprivations of poverty may intersect the subordination of women to amplify health hazards for poor households. Poor women’s access to water may be doubly disadvantaged, first by the household’s weak grasp on resources and second by the low priority given to women’s work, knowledge, and responsibilities.” (713)

“Increased extraction of groundwater from agriculture has undermined recent improvements in access to drinking water. The lesson from this case is that groundwater conditions may hide conflict between two sectors, health and the economy, and between the work and interests of men and women. There may be simple ways of reducing these social conflicts. For example, drinking-water provision can sometimes be included in irrigation expansion. Lack of recognition of this type of social conflict, the relative social influence of the two sectors, health and the economy, and of the roles of men and women, could lead to declining health conditions and increasing work for women.” (722)

Topics: Class, Economies, Economic Inequality, Gender, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Bangladesh

Year: 2002

Enhancing Gender Visibility in Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change in the Caribbean. CASE STUDY: Water and Sanitation in Rural Communities in Jamaica

Citation:

Vassell, Linnette. 2009. Enhancing Gender Visibility in Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change in the Caribbean. CASE STUDY: Water and Sanitation in Rural Communities in Jamaica. Barbados: United Nations Development Programme.

Author: Linnette Vassell

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation Regions: Americas, Caribbean countries Countries: Jamaica

Year: 2009

Pages

© 2019 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.

Subscribe to RSS - Water & Sanitation