Women are not only the main persons responsible for water collection in many parts of the world, but they also possess invaluable knowledge with regard to water resources and play a key role in water and sanitation management at the local and community levels. Accordingly, women must be able to enjoy equal access to water and also have an equal say in the management and governance of water resources.
Twenty-five years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, progress towards gender equality through the fulfilment of the basic right to water and sanitation is clearly off track.Despite advances at the policy level in acknowledging the need to progress towards gender equality in the water sector – and the resulting benefits – large gender inequalities persist in practice. Women are generally under-represented in terms of participation at all levels: from institutional bodies that manage national or transboundary waters, to water-related institutions such as governmental water agencies and water utilities, to local water management institutions.
This report provides a detailed overview of the existing and emerging challenges to gender equality in the water domain with a particular focus on: access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health, employment,climate change management, water governance, education and training, and data collection and funding. Systematic and sustained efforts to eliminate these inequalities are essential to achieve meaningful and lasting gender equality in the water sector, and to promote sustainable development in general.
Governments, international organizations, professionals and policy-makers in the water sector, academia and NGOs are invited to join forces to accelerate the achievement of gender equality in water for a more just, sustainable and peaceful future.