Water and Gender

When? 12noon, Wednesday 22 June 2022

Where? Register for this class on Zoom using this link – https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIscuCqpjMoE9XOZ9YqX0MtuPheGMT81ill

For women and girls, there are bound to be gaps in access to a safe, comfortable and healthy life. Especially in the situation of getting safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and hygiene facilities at home and in places of work and education. Among low-income countries, and villages or areas that are still very underdeveloped, women and girls have primary responsibility for management of household water supply, sanitation including health.  The data from (WHO and UNICEF, 2017) mentions that women and girls are responsible for water collection in 8 out of 10 households with water off premises, which means reducing the population with limited drinking water services will have a strong gender impact. In these women’s roles, it is also accompanied by the situation of women who are still marginalized and left behind in terms of their education, including in obtaining clean water for drinking, they do not feel safe when bathing in rivers, for example or to toilets in open places. In fact, many issues regarding gender and the need for water, linkages with sanitation and a clean environment are often ignored.

The panel will include discussion of the following themes:

  • The roles of women and girls.

There are certain expected roles for women and girls, especially for Indigenous women, who usually bear the responsibility for collecting water. As a result, women and girls are more vulnerable in their daily bathing places in rural areas because of the construction of infrastructure such as bridges and roads. When they go to the river where they bathe, they feel insecure and can be abused at any time, and women have special hygiene needs such as menstruation, pregnancy and child rearing.

  • Water Rights and  International Human Rights Law

There are many international human rights laws that regulate water rights, for example the UN Human Rights Council  in its 2010 Resolution 15/9 entitled “Human rights and access to safe drinking water and sanitation”. Furthermore, international treaties like the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)  emphasise  how water and sanitation services are crucial to achieving gender equality. Article 14 of CEDAW outlines the rights of rural women, and states that states parties must ensure rural women have the right “to enjoy adequate living conditions in relation to housing, sanitation, electricity and water supply, transport and communications”.

  • SDGs 6 : clean water and sanitation for all

The SDGs are uniquely interconnected, particularly with respect to accessing water.

  • Challenges

Mapping the challenges in several countries regarding the availability and lack of a safe and sufficient water supply and sanitation conditions that effect on the lives of women and girls

  • Gender-sensitive approaches to Water  (GSAW)

GSAW are helping to enhance the suitability, sustainability and reach of water and sanitation services by both focusing on and involving women in the facilities’ design, management and  implementation. Then policy should include  gender equity at all levels will be significant  to achieving water and sanitation for all gender.

  • The gender dimension of water and climate change

Natural disasters impact women more severely due to structural inequalities in economic and social rights, and cultural, economic and social disadvantages. At the same time,  women are the core producers of food globally and make up the majority of agricultural workers in many countries – sectors greatly affected by climate change.

The lecture includes discussion of cases studies  from the situation of  Indigenous women  and rural women  related to water and presentation of  solving problems of the case studies by participants.


Nukila Evanty

Nukila Evanty is Executive Director at the Women Working Group (WWG), Advisory Board Member at RMIT University, Business and Human Rights Center in Melbourne, Australia and Asia Center Thailand, graduated from the Faculty of Law University of Diponegoro (Undip) Indonesia , Faculty of Law University of Groningen in the Netherlands and the Faculty of Law at the University of New South Wales, Australia. Nukila has extensive teaching experience and has been a guest lecturer at various universities and institutions such as the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (RWI) and a mentor at ASIL (American Society of International Law) 2020-2021. Nukila has also produced various international publications such as the book Business and Human Rights in Asia. Nukila is also a Resilience Fellow in 2021.Nukila represents her country in forums such as the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and is experienced in UN (United Nations) Human Rights Mechanisms.

Dr. Nikita Gopal

Dr. Nikita Gopal is Principal Scientist at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research-Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (ICAR-CIFT), Kochi, Kerala, India. She holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics and has worked in ICAR-CIFT for 25 years. Her areas of work include seafood trade and markets; technology evaluation in fisheries; and socio-economic studies among fishing communities. She has carried out several national and international projects, including action-research projects.

For the past several years, Dr. Gopal has been actively engaged in gender research in fisheries and aquaculture, and has worked on women in various sectors like seafood processing; small scale aquaculture and fisheries; marketing and other post-harvest activities. She has been engaging with clam fishers in a village in Kerala, India over a period of ten years, and has helped form fisherwomen clusters and along with her team has carried out technology transfer in improved methods of processing clam, focusing on drudgery relief and improving household incomes. She has coordinated multi-country international collaborative gender projects funded by the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA) and SwedBio; been an expert for capacity building initiatives of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF) on the FAO SSF Guidelines for coastal fisherwomen in India; and was one of the gender experts for the Illuminating Hidden Harvest study. Dr. Gopal and her team are currently collaborating with the University of Southampton (and other partners) in an interdisciplinary project funded by the RAEng Frontiers Programme, focusing on small-scale fisheries in Kerala, where fishing communities are vulnerable to increasing climate events, declining catches, biodiversity loss, and the lingering effects of COVID-19.

Dr. Gopal is a founding member, the inaugural and the first Vice Chair, and incoming Chair of the Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries Section (GAFS) of the Asian Fisheries Society (AFS). Recognising her sustained long-term contributions to the GAFS, the leadership of its conference programs, research, and related activities, she has been awarded the AFS Gold Medal Award in 2022. She was earlier recipient of the AFS Merit Award in 2013 and AFS Certificates of Appreciation in 2015, 2016 and 2017 for leadership of the GAFS Conferences and publications. She is an elected Fellow of the Society of Fisheries Technologists of India (FSFT of SOFTI) and Vice Chair of the Asian Fisheries Social Science Research Network.

Nairita Roy Chaudhuri

Nairita Roy Chaudhuri is a PhD researcher at Tilburg Law School, Tilburg University, Netherlands. Her PhD, funded by the European Joint Doctorate in Law & Development, focuses on the role of gendered rural communities’ knowledge in enabling sustainable climate change adaptation to water scarcity. Her educational background is in Law (BA), and Development Studies (MA). She pursued both these degrees in India. Nairita’s research interest lies in investigating the relationship between law (broadly conceived), coloniality, political ecology, and economy from feminist perspectives. She is interested in how power relations & identities related to gender, race, caste, class, geography, coloniality and other contexts shape subjective and intersubjective meanings and experiences of sustainability, development, and climatic crises in the global South. She is also interested in how such relations & identities are renegotiated and reorganized to cope with multiple ecological crises and reconfigure ‘other’ sustainable modes of living that are just.

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