A review of progress in empowerment of women in rural water management decision-making processes

This paper explores the links between water infrastructure, water policies, processes and protections, along with mechanisms for women’s leadership and decision-making for contributing to rural well-being. The broad-brush strokes approach is our attempt to reveal the breadth and complexity of the interdisciplinary nature of problems, which can only be solved via interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches. Poor, rural women are disproportionally and adversely impacted by domestic and public gendered roles in relation to water accessibility, system design and management, as well as by the high costs of water distribution. The inadequacy of fair water distribution channels is compounded by the growing influence of water privatisation advocates. The significant changes in climate and global warming also threaten accessibility to safe water and add levels of competitiveness and vulnerability for people in many regions of the world. The recommendations proposed in this paper underscore the need for proper management of water resources to prevent and to reduce water conflicts and to increase all dimensions of well-being.

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