Category Archives: Equality and non-discrimination

On World Water Day, gender equality and empowerment require attention

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On World Water Day, gender equality and empowerment require attention. Lancet Planetary Health, March 18, 2019. By Sheela S Sinharoy; Bethany A Caruso.

What would promotion of gender equality and empowerment in relation to water look like? At a minimum, it would necessitate a recognition of gender differences, as opposed to gender blindness.

This requires collection of improved gender data. At the global level, an opportunity exists to enable sex-disaggregated data collection through the WHO and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme, which is revising core questions for monitoring household water, sanitation, and hygiene.

This effort should include questions to assess differences in responsibilities for water-related tasks—including but not limited to drinking water—based on gender as well as on age, socioeconomic status, and other characteristics, such as caste, as part of an intersectional approach.

 

 

Celebrating Gender Transformative Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Vietnam

Celebrating Gender Transformative Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Vietnam. by Elaine Mercer, IDS Blog, March 8, 2019.

Within the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector, gender issues are frequently reduced to the roles and experiences of women and within that often with a narrow focus on menstrual hygiene management. Although these issues are very important, many other central gender equality issues are missed or side-lined.

To celebrate International Women’s Day which focuses on gender balance this year, we are featuring innovative work in Vietnam by Women for Water in partnership with Thrive Networks/East Meets West.

In Vietnam, many women face challenges in accessing WASH services and facilities; eg lack of funds and information, exclusion from decision-making, poorly designed facilities along with restrictive gender norms.

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Photo Credit: Thrive Networks/East Meets West – Nguyen Van Phuc (father, left); his son Tien Manh; and wife Kim Chi stand next to their newly constructed hygienic latrine behind their house in Long Hung commune, Chau Thanh district, Tien Giang province.

Overcoming barriers to women’s access to hygiene and water

In the video interview below, Hanh Nguyen Hong (Thrive Networks/East Meets West) talks about how the Women-Led Output Based Aid (WOBA) programme in Vietnam is overcoming these barriers by facilitating gender transformative WASH.

WOBA is implemented in partnership with the Vietnam Women’s Union. The Union is a fantastic and well-connected mobilising force as it has 17 million members across the country at all levels, including village level.

Read the complete article.

Water Currents: WASH and Gender

Water Currents: WASH and Gender – March 5, 2019

USAID recognizes that gender equality and women’s empowerment are vital to the success of any development intervention. The Agency incorporates a gender-related component into all its activities, including those outlined in the U.S. Government Global Water Strategy and the USAID Water and Development Plan in support of the Strategy.

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Women and girls often bear primary responsibility for providing drinking water and sanitation to their families and are disproportionately affected when they have to travel to reach these services/facilities. Improved sanitation access is crucial to preserving the basic dignity of women and girls and reducing gender-based violence.

Under USAID’s Plan, water and sanitation programming will promote gender equality by increasing participation in leadership, consultation, education, and technical skills training. Menstrual hygiene management (MHM) is another critical way that water and sanitation activities can address women’s and girls’ empowerment by alleviating a major constraint to their participation in education and public life.

This issue contains gender-related studies and reports from 2017 and 2018 on MHM, gender issues related to water collection and water security, male participation in sanitation, and other topics. A special thanks goes to the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) for contributing content to this issue.

Read the complete issue.

WaterAid; WSUP; UNICEF – Female-friendly public and community toilets: a guide for planners and decision makers

Female-friendly public and community toilets: a guide for planners and decision makers. WaterAid; WSUP; UNICEF, October 2018.

This guide is for local authorities in towns and cities in charge of public and community toilets. This includes leaders and officials in charge of funding, planning, designing, regulating, monitoring or managing these facilities. Toilets in Kumasi

It is also useful for national governments, public and private service providers, NGOs, donors and civil society organisations who have a role in this provision. Although much of the content might apply globally, the focus is on developing country contexts.

The guide can help improve understanding of the requirements of women and girls using public and community toilets.

It provides guidance on how to address these in city planning and local-level implementation, so that planning, designing, upgrading and management results in female-friendly toilets that are more accessible to users whose requirements have often been ignored, including women, girls, older people and people with disabilities.

Assessing equity: a way to improve sanitation service delivery in South African informal settlements

Assessing equity: a way to improve sanitation service delivery in South African informal settlements. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, September 2018.

This paper discusses the need to incorporate equity assessment into the planning and monitoring of sanitation service delivery to South African informal settlements. Equity assessment criteria were drawn from literature and a study of sanitation service delivery to informal settlements in three South African municipalities (Cape Town, Johannesburg and eThekwini) over the period 2012–2015. wash

Three key dimensions of equity – resource allocation, access and stakeholder perceptions – were identified. These had eight associated criteria: (1) funds allocated for basic sanitation, (2) number of staff allocated to informal settlements, (3) disparities in access, (4) proportion of functioning sanitation facilities, (5) menstrual hygiene management (MHM) inclusion, (6) access to information, (7) meets users’ notions of dignity, and (8) integration of the perspectives of key stakeholders.

Key findings of the study indicate that the current focus on reducing service backlogs largely ignores equity and there is a need to better address this through the incorporation of: equity assessments, improving access to information, and the inclusion of marginalised communities in the planning of sanitation services.

Sylvia Cabus on Gender Mainstreaming in Water and Sanitation Programming – Global Waters Radio

Sylvia Cabus on Gender Mainstreaming in Water and Sanitation Programming. Global Waters Radio, August 24, 2018.

Sylvia Cabus serves as Senior Gender Advisor for USAID’s Office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. cabus

In this podcast, Sylvia speaks with Global Waters Radio about some of the many ways the Agency integrates gender into its water, sanitation, and hygiene programming, and talks about how gender mainstreaming contributes to improved livelihood opportunities for women, better educational access for girls, and greater sustainability for WASH development interventions.

The strong connections between WASH improvements and girls and women’s empowerment received prominent mention in the U.S. Government’s first-ever Global Water Strategy, released in 2017, which notes as part of its first Strategic Objective that “access to sanitation for women and girls is particularly crucial to preserving basic dignity, improving access to education and economic opportunities, and reducing gender-based violence.”

Link to the podcast and transcript.

Gender & WASH – Water Currents, December 21, 2017

Gender & WASH – Water Currents, December 21, 2017

Women and girls are disproportionately affected by lack of access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services. Their needs differ from men in terms of sanitation, they spend more of their time collecting water, yet they have less say about household and community decisions made on WASH services. gender

Similarly, women throughout the developing world face different barriers than men in terms of their involvement in WASH-related professions, such as utility management.

This issue on gender and WASH focuses on a new batch of reports, journal articles, and podcasts and provides links to relevant websites and news articles that consider gender issues in the WASH sector and gender-related aspects of agricultural water management.

We are always looking for ideas and suggestions to make Water Currents more useful and relevant, so we would appreciate your responses to this brief survey.

Water and Gender

The Rising Tide: A New Look at Water and GenderThe World Bank, August 2017. Water-related societal roles often reflect, and even reinforce, gender inequality. This report discusses the consequences of some water initiatives—intended and unintended—for gender equality. It makes the important point that gender inequality does not always show up where we might expect.

Gender-Responsive Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: Key Elements for Effective WASH ProgrammingUNICEF, March 2017. Effective gender-responsive programming in the WASH sector can contribute to gender equality while yielding important WASH results. This document outlines essential elements that WASH practitioners should take into account to enhance a gender-responsive approach to their work.

Gender Equality and Disability Inclusion within Water, Sanitation and HygieneWaterAid, March 2017. This discussion paper is based on WaterAid’s experiences in applying integrated gender and disability support to rights-based WASH programs in Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea.

Read the complete issue.