Stockholm International Water Institute / Global Water Partnership / SaciWATERs / WaterAid / Women for Water Partnership

Understanding the gender dimension of water and waste: Session 1

Sunday 27 August | 11.00-12.30 | Room: NL 357
Photo: GWP

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 1: Water quality, health and hygiene

Water quality issues and waste water treatment are not gender-neutral. This part of the seminar sets the stage for the global transformative agenda 2030, connecting SDGs 5 and 6.3 specifically. Water quality issues and waste water treatment are not gender neutral. The session will address the connection between equality issues, women’s concerns on around polluted water and (used) water treatment, and governance measures that can be taken. This section will touch on sludge management and sex-disaggregated data collection on this topic.

Programme

Water quality, health and hygiene

11:00 Welcome
Lesha Witmer, Women for Water Partnership (WfWP)

11:05 Opening remarks on the connection between SDG5 and SDG6
Mariet Verhoef-Cohen, President, Women for Water Partnership (WfWP)

11:20 Introducing the gender - water quality angle
Jack Moss, AquaFed

11:35 Participatory approach for ecologically sustainable sanitation 
Khaoula Lamzouri, National Office for Electricity and Potable Water (ONEE)

11:45 Enhancing women capabilities in wastewater management: beginning from schools
Neekita Sharma, Government Department of Education, Jammu and Kashmir

11:55 Sex- disaggregated data methodology
Prof. Stefan Uhlenbrook
, UNESCO-WWAP

12:05 Women as Agents of Change in Faecal Sludge Management
Maren Heuvels, BORDA

12:15 Q&A and Vote on recommendations/ response from public
Moderator: Lesha Witmer, Women for Water Partnership (WfWP)

12:25 Conclusions

12:30 Close of session

Session 2: Embedding gender equality in decision-making on water and wastewater

Session 3: Building enabling environments and empowerment for managing water and wastewater


Conclusion

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.