How Does Water+ Intersect with Gender?

CARE’s drinking water, small-scale irrigation, and integrated conservation projects are world renowned. In developing countries, women typically bear the main responsibility for supplying the home with water, caring for the sick, and raising healthy children. A study in western Kenya jointly conducted by CARE and Emory University found that access to safe water and hygiene facilities can dramatically reduce girls’ absenteeism in primary school, making it an important component of a productive learning environment. Girls are more likely to stop attending school when safe latrines or adequate sanitation—important facilities that assist in menstrual management/hygiene—are unavailable. At the same time, women and girls are much less likely to have a say in how and who gets access to water for domestic and productive use and in the design and operation of sanitation facilities. Women’s empowerment goes hand-in-hand with the improvement and equitable governance of water supply and sanitation facilities. As an implementer, CARE promotes changes in cultural norms, policies and institutions that perpetuate gender inequalities in how water and related resources are used. A 2010 study from CARE’s water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs in Ethiopia found that as a result of interventions, 34% of women felt significantly more empowered, 67% felt there had been improvements to equality within the household, 68% felt an improvement in control of household resources, and 67% felt increased respect and dignity (see the report below).

Water + Impact Report
The Water Team's report on the impact of their work on their theory of Change. April, 2013. The team scores 6 out of 10 in Domain 1: Secure and Sustainable Access to Water+ Services, 4 out of 10 in Domain 2: Gender-Sensitive Water+ Policies, Institutions and Social Norms, and 4 out of 10 in Domain 3: Gender-Equitable Control over Water+ Services.

Running Dry: A Program of the Global Water Initiative
A Brief Guide To: Working Towards Inclusion - Issues of Gender, Diversity, and Vulnerability
by Helen Pankhurst, October 2008


Research Into Women's Experiences and Their Empowerment Through a WASH Intervention
by Abebaw Kebede, Haregewein Admassu, Helen Pankhurst, Leslie Greene and Teshome Lemma, April 2010