Stockholm International Water Institute / UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme / Australian Water Partnership / Women for Water Partnership

Tapping into collective wisdom: Gender sensitive development and water ecosystems

Sunday 26 August | 14.00-15.30 | Room: FH Little Theatre
Susanna Starck, SIWI

Getting it right: how measuring and methods can assist

Women are primary stakeholders in the water, sanitation and environment realms, and typically express different priorities than men. Many countries have committed to promoting gender equality in view of achieving the SDGs by 2030, but turning these commitments into action is hindered by a lack of gender data. From this perspective, gender analysis and sex-disaggregated data collection on water and ecosystem management plays a critical role.
The session will present innovative monitoring and analysis tools, to measure and enhance the gender responsiveness of projects, as well as how the collection of sex-disaggregated water data may inform water policies. An analytical approach to examine gender participation issues in water governance and the role of citizen science as innovative tool to allow female ownership of monitoring processes in resource management will act as examples of bottom-up women empowerment. Further, a case study from the Mesoamerican Reef will demonstrate how the capacity of local communities in sustainable resources management, including gender and social aspects, can be developed.
To conclude, the relevance of communication as a tool for disseminating gendered knowledge will be underlined during an interactive discussion with a live audience response system.

Gold standard events are committed to ensure the gender balance in speakers/panellists and young professional representation in the session.


Getting it right: how measuring and methods can assist

14:00 Introduction
Lesha Witmer, Women for Water Partnership & Michela Miletto, UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme (UNESCO-WWAP)

14:05 Moving from Theory to Action (Part 1)

  • What sex-disaggregated water data mean for water policies’: the WWAP Toolkit application in  household surveys in Southern Africa
    Bothepha Mosetlhi, University of Botswana & UNESCO-WWAP
  • An alternative gender analytical approach for water governance
    Laura Imburgia, University of Reading
  • What gets measured (by women), gets managed
    Ellen Pfeiffer, IHE Delft

14:35 Q&A

14:43 Moving from Theory to Action (part 2)

  • Hands on: ‘BRIDGE’ and ‘GREACT’ Tool
    Isabelle Fauconnier, IUCN
  • 'MAR2R' Project
    Maria Amalia Porta, WWF Guatemala

15:03 Q&A

15.10 Communications is Key: Interactive Q&A
A powerful tool for gender in water projects:  communication and outreach
Laurens Thuy, UNESCO-WWAP

15.25 Conclusion

Michela Miletto, UNESCO-WWAP

15:30 End of session


The objective of the seminar was to contribute to better understanding water-related sustainable development for enhanced ecosystem functioning through gendered transformative approaches and tools. By showcasing experiences from policy to practice and unpacking practical application of tools and frameworks, the seminar made the global connection between SDG 5 and 6 and explored what this means on the ground. Each session was attendees by 50+ participants, with majority engaging in the interactive Mentimeter element. The digital participatory tool stimulated discussion around notable gender statistics and perceptions around what it means to be a GESI champion.
The overarching key messages from these presentations and discussions were:
1.    Implementation of gender proactive approaches, driven by women adopting new ‘non-traditional’ roles, for inclusive and equitable ecosystem management and water developments can only be effective if change is embraced by
2.    Citizen science and bottom-up decision making on why and what disaggregated data is measured, and by whom, has a direct effect on benefactor agency and empowerment, and is a critical step toward creating linkages between SDGs 5
3.    Harnessing the collective, indigenous and traditional knowledge of women together with modern science ensures communities are equipped with appropriate approaches to better manage

Given the direct links between this seminar and WWW 2019’s theme of ‘Water for society, including all’, the seminar closed with a formal commitment (‘handing over the baton’) from key organisations responsible for taking actions forward to 2019 – including SIWI, UNSECO WWAP, Women for Water Partnership and the Australian Government.

•    Gender and women’s issues are not just about WASH; they are part and parcel of all 8 water targets and critical components of SDGs 10, 15, 16 and 17.  Interlinked planning, combined action and (sex disaggregated) monitoring at local and national levels is needed to
•    Women are innovators and important agents of change who impact and influence their societies. Too few women are engaged on water issues – both through formal employment and localized involvement in decision-making committees. Promoting women’s meaningful participation at all levels is key to

Initiatives, tools, networks
•    Co-designed citizen monitoring processes ensure a focus on local values, and fosters collective action, buy-in and behaviour changes. The bottom-up approach seeks to identify and unpack critical connections between women’s participation in decision-making, the conservation of ecosystems, community access to natural resources and
•    WWAP’s Gender Toolkit for collecting household sex disaggregated data on water issues (access, participation and management) provides a robust quantitative and qualitative evidence base to inform national water policy recommendations and identify funding source shortages / impediments to women’s organizations, where changes to finance allocation
•    An integrated gender-analytical framework for water governance guides practitioners in considering how the overarching desired outcomes of a programme can be unpacked in terms of gender disparities and inequalities, the implications of these, and the resultant policy