This paper, part of the Both ENDS Working Paper Series, synthesises and summarises the main findings of the collaborative project Effective gender mainstreaming in water management for sustainable livelihoods: From guidelines to practice (2005). This project sought to examine a widely perceived gap between the words and actions of water management policies on the issue of gender.
The paper starts by describing the background of the project, before refining a diagnosis regarding the extent and location of the gaps in question. This diagnosis is then linked to a brief discussion on the definition of mainstreaming. The report then analyses why gender mainstreaming is largely absent in water management, and the adequacy and relevance of available knowledge.
The working paper closes by outlining a minimum agenda for mainstreaming gender into water management, concluding that a flexible, bottom-up, and participatory approach is most conducive strategy. Finally, several recommendations are suggested for each major stakeholder, including:
* Practitioners in the field should carry out comprehensive social analysis, including gender disaggregated stakeholder, agency, and water-use analysis.
* Water and agriculture researchers and trainers should also ensure the use of gender disaggregated data, whilst updating existing curricula to include social issues. Research should be participatory, accessible, and multidisciplinary, with women’s difficulty in participation taken into account. Guidance is needed on a minimum set of specific and gender disaggregated data for different fields.
* Gender experts should focus on revising methodologies and tools for different contexts, e.g. remembering to view situations from the perspective of water technicians and minimising gender jargon. Communicating the benefits of gender mainstreaming, providing tailored training and capacity building, and multi-level lobbying are also recommended. This will require revisiting existing tools and making them more non-expert friendly.