Understanding the gender dimension of water and waste: Session 3
A gender perspective illuminates how gender roles and relations affect and are affected by WASH and water resource interventions. This understanding can increase sustainability and resource efficiency, and thereby enhance the benefits for all. Experience has shown that interventions that include the views, input and participation of both men and women generally work better. WASH services, water resource management and waste water management are not gender-neutral. Interventions are incomplete without a gender perspective and the active involvement of women.
Session 3: Building enabling environments and empowerment for managing water and wastewater
Although the need for gender equality is increasingly acknowledged, there are still many impediments to its expression in the management of water and wastewater. Enabling environments are essential to supports processes of empowerment, whether is through economic avenues, acquisition of knowledge, leadership or decision-making. This session seeks to explore and amalgamate tools and approaches to building enabling environments and empowerment to promote the gender- inclusive management of water and wastewater. The deliberation will be in ‘world café discussion’ style. Results from this session will contribute towards a framework for advocacy and action on gender- inclusive strategies for managing water and wastewater.
Building enabling environments and empowerment for managing water and wastewater
16:00 Recap of Session 1 and 2 and Introduction to Session 3
Kanokphan Jongjarb, Young Scientific Programme Committee
16:10 Being gender aware in creating enabling environment
Oyun Sanjaasuren, Chair, Global Water Partnership
16:20 Three main presentation on examples of enabling environment
- Are New Water Interventions Gender Neutral? Study of Pani-Panchayat
Basanta Sahu, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, India
- Better Wash Services lead to educational progressions for girls
Dorice Agol, Kenya
- Mainstreaming Gender in WASH Programmes for Social Transformation and Empowerment
Riad Imam Mahmud, Max Foundation
16:35 Group breakout into the three themes
Moderator: Oyun Sanjaasuren, Chair, Global Water Partnership
- Enabling environment for empowerment and economic opportunitiesz
- Improving mechanisms for gender inclusive decision making
- Gender and WASH –what next
17:05 Each group share priorities to be carried forward
17:25 Whole session wrap up and concluding remarks
Eiman Karar and Anders Jägerskog
A gender perspective highlights how gender roles and relations affect and are affected by WASH and water resource interventions. This understanding can increase sustainability and resource efficiency, and thereby enhance the benefits for all. Experience has shown that interventions that include the views, input and participation of both men and women generally work better. WASH services, water resource management and waste water management are not gender-neutral. Interventions are incomplete without a gender perspective and the active involvement of women.
The seminar focused on three aspects; water quality, health and hygiene from a policy perspective; embedding gender equality in decision-making on water and wastewater and building enabling environments and empowerment for managing water and wastewater.
The successful seminar came up with salient messages which reflect universal access through gender-sensitive, safely managed water and sanitation (services) is a perquisite for reaching the goals and targets on equality and equity of agenda 2030. The importance of including women in decision-making on water has been widely recognized but it is still inadequate in practice. Change in community attitude towards women’s leadership is a major factor in empowering women to be part of the decision making bodies. The economic, social, and political support as well as good governance can ensure women leadership and strategic role in WASH management and water governance as a whole. In order for local communities and especially women to be respected and involved in a structured way in construction, operation and management of sanitation services in the broadest sense, we need to move from symbolic to meaningful participation, sector actors must take concrete steps to make women’s participation empowering.
The establishment of the enabling environment would ensure women participation which is not disabled by traditional gender roles and norms and to fully recognise the importance of their contributions, redesigning the school curricula so that waste water management can be organically integrated into the core education modules, instead of keeping it as a separate paper or activity. Companies need to create a work environment through adapted HR policies to ensure women can step up the career ladder, become key decision makers, and are free from harassment, create awareness among male leaders and colleagues on advantages of gender equal teams, women’s input, female colleagues and leaders and to enhance attention for and research on the specific effects of untreated used water discharge in a gender-sensitive manner and the longer run involving multiple stakeholder solutions.