Empowering women in water management


The IUCN Water Programme is committed to gender equality. To support International Women's Day, we have compiled our most recent efforts to empower women in decisions and actions for sustainable water management.

The Gender Responsiveness Action Tool

©IUCN/Maria Ana Borges

The Global Water Programme developed the 'Gender Responsiveness Action Tool' for its key initiatives, 'BRIDGE: Building River Dialogue and Governance' and 'SUSTAIN: Sustainability and Inclusion Strategy for Growth Corridors in Africa', with support from the IUCN Global Gender Office. The purpose of this tool is to help the programme's implementing partners to plan, implement and monitor their interventions in a gender-responsive manner. 

The integration of gender considerations throughout water-related work is crucial for its long-term sustainability and effectiveness. Examples of gender-responsive actions for our projects include: conducting focus group interviews with women and men to learn about potential obstacles to women’s representation; when facilitating workshops, actively encouraging women to speak and share their perspectives; when supporting institutional strengthening, assist in developing rules and procedures that ensure women’s active participation in planning processes; engaging women’s advocacy groups and women’s national networks. 

Project implementation under both SUSTAIN and BRIDGE will benefit from the application of the new tool, which will enhance concrete gender-responsive action every step of the way and allow for adaptive management within both programmes to improve gender-related outcomes.

WISE-UP to Climate: Women group consultations in field research

©IWMI/Marloes Mul

This is the story of Laetitia Pettinotti, Researcher at BC3 Basque Centre for Climate Change, partner of the IUCN 'WISE-UP to Climate' project

"Last September the 'WISE-UP to Climate' team visited the communities of Arigu, Bisigu, and Pwalugu in Northern Ghana, a region lining the White Volta River. My role as a BC3 research economist was to collect qualitative and quantitative data on the benefits local communities receive from ecosystem services. 

As a new dam is planned for the region, the WISE-UP project is compiling information on the different services nature provides to local communities living in the area. Although much information is available on what engineered infrastructure, such as the planned dam, can provide in terms of services -such as flood protection, energy production, and irrigation- much less information is available on the services already being delivered by nature that support local livelihoods..."

To find out how the project applies an inter-disciplinary inclusive methodology, please continue reading here

In preparation for International Women's Day, IUCN Mesoamerica interviewed women from the Goascorán Basin, a BRIDGE project basin located between Honduras and El Salvador. In this video, women talk about how they actively participate in basin councils to propose actions for better river basin management.

Since water is a common good, it is important to take action at all levels, so that everyone can have access to good water quality
Brenda García, Fundacion Salvadorena para la promocion social y el desarrollo economico (El Salvador)
We are now working in river basin councils, where we are holding leading positions such as the presidency, vice-presidency and other strategic roles where we can add our voices and demonstrate our abilities as women
Jesy Barralaga, Vicepresidenta del Consejo de Cuenca de Goascoran (Honduras)

We do not have water at home everyday. So we have gathered in different councils all along the river's flow to improve water sharing and caring.

Yudi Espinal, Consejo de Microcuenca de Aguanqueterique (Honduras)
¡El agua tiene rostro de mujer! 
Water also has a female face!
Semiramis Molina, Municipio de San Alejo (El Salvador)
"In 2017 we expect men and women across the world to step up and move beyond declarations. A society with empowered women is a safer, healthier and more productive society. We have come a long way; but we still have a long way to go." 

Inger Andersen, IUCN Director-General
[click here for full statement]

For International Women's Day 2017, #BeBoldForChange
Call on the masses or call on yourself to help forge a better working world
- a more inclusive, gender equal world

To learn more about IUCN's Water work, visit www.waterandnature.org