In many developing countries, women are the de facto water decision makers in households. Research suggests that when women are involved in the management of water resources, their communities achieve better economic and environmental benefits. As the world’s population grows and climate change intensifies water scarcity, women are key to providing more sustainable access to this finite resource.
Despite this, a new report “Advancing towards gender mainstreaming in water resources management” launched on 16 September shows progress has been slow and the management of this vital resource is still male dominated. The report was prepared under the SDG 6 IWRM Support Programme, the mechanism through which UNEP, GWP, UNEP-DHI Centre and Cap-Net UNDP support countries in implementing IWRM. It is based on gender-related survey data from 186 countries collected as part of the reporting exercise on SDG indicator 6.5.1 as well as in-depth interviews carried out by GWP in 23 countries.
The report finds that gender and inclusion policies have been developed in many countries. But there is still a gap between policy and practice: policies are not always accompanied by concrete action plans, nor are they adequately funded.
The report showcases a range of practices on how countries have advanced women’s participation in water management and provides recommendations on how to replicate and upscale those practices, seen through the lens of seven enablers.