In celebration of International Woman’s Day, researchers at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) were asked to share what they think is important for a more inclusive, gender equal world, here.
Mine is a snapshot of what I’m currently working on, and why a focus on gender is important in water governance:
As an intern in the South Africa office of IWMI, I am working on issues of social inclusiveness and gender responsiveness in transboundary groundwater governance. Since transboundary arrangements can influence gendered livelihoods and wellbeing on the local level, a gendered approach to reading law and policy on all levels is important. The failure to address gender in transboundary groundwater governance can jeopardize water security and livelihood options for small communities in the border regions, enhancing risks to social cohesions, livelihoods and wellbeing. However, such an approach requires bold persistence, as despite its importance, gender considerations are often sidelined, and are almost invisible in transboundary arrangements.
Women are already important water managers, and it is therefore important to inspire and engage more women and girls to become leaders in decision-making that affects water equity.
To accelerate the achievement of gender equality in water and land management, IWMI must continue emphasizing the importance of inclusive and representative decision making at all levels, from local to transboundary, in striving for a gender-equal world.