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Gender and Waste Nexus

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UN Environment, GRID-Arendal, Bentley University
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Gender and Waste Nexus - experiences from Bhutan, Mongolia and Nepal 

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are overarching global commitments to achieve sustainable development, promote waste reforms that prioritize the reduction of waste generation through prevention, recycling and reuse and aim to achieve environmentally sound management of waste throughout its life cycle. These commitments, including the overall mandate of the SDGs to “leave no one behind”, underscore the importance of the gender issues in the waste sector. Over the past few years, the issue of gender in waste management has received increasing attention, highlighting that waste production and management is not gender neutral. In fact, existing gender inequalities, responsibilities and roles largely shape how waste is situated in many social and economic systems. This report examines the relationship between gender and waste through case studies carried out in the capital cities of Bhutan (Thimphu), Mongolia (Ulaanbaatar) and Nepal (Kathmandu). The current gendered profile of the waste sector in the three countries is the product of people’s attitudes about men and women and the associated stereotypes directly linked to everyday life. Gender inequalities and norms are embedded in almost every aspect of waste management and are distinctly evident throughout the entire value chain, mirroring existing socioeconomic structures.

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