Despite several decades of concern for gender in the water sector, progress towards gender equitable practices has been patchy in the extreme. Cleaver here draws on previous work reviewing gender and water policies and identifying gaps in these and investigating understandings of institutions of water resource management.This short think-piece examines in more detail how the disappointing progress with gender and water initiatives can be partly attributed to an impoverished understanding of the social world, in particular to static and oversimplified models of institutions, cultural norms and social relationships. This lack of understanding of the social can lead to well-meaning gender approaches to water merely reproducing stereotypes and perpetuating essentialist myths about the nature of women's role in water resource management. Cleaver suggests that little real progress will be made until the importance is recognised of detailed and contextualised social understandings, the dynamic nature of culture, the workings of structure and agency in social relationships and the complex evolution of institutions.
Type of publication:
CTCN Keyword Matches: