As Bangladesh rises out of the bottom 40 countries on the UNDP’s Gender Inequality Index, Bangladesh Delta Plan is seizing the opportunity to address the role of gender in the water management process. With baseline studies established and atelier tours reaching disaster-prone regions throughout Bangladesh, BDP is now more equipped than ever to incorporate gender into all thematic areas of its research strategy.
Bandudeltas is taking strides towards Integrative Water Management (IWM) in collaboration with Gender and Water Alliance (GWA), a Dutch government-funded coalition to ensure the inclusion of a gender focus in all water projects supported by the Dutch government.
Integrated Water Management is the process of creating equitable access and distribution of water resources across the Bangladesh delta — where the concerns of women are determined and then placed on the forefront of the water management agenda.
“The situation and needs of women, children, adolescent girls, elderly persons, and men are truly different,” states Rokeya Khatun, Senior Capacity Building Expert at GWA.
Actively engaging Gender and Water experts, BDP is working to ensure that women are an equally involved as stakeholders in the consultation and planning process of our water projects by rising to the task of identifying a gender-inclusive approach within research fields that previously have not focused directly on the role of women.
“Despite broad international decisions calling for women’s full participation in water development activities and decision-making, many institutions have not fully understood or adopted a gender-sensitive, rights-based and inclusive approach to integrated water resource management (IWRM),” claimed on the Gender and Water Alliance’s mission statement.
Responding to current gender inequality in the water management process, BDP is currently drafting a comprehensive report detailing the barriers women encounter in search for water equity, and then formulating policy strategies for addressing them.
The thematic areas proposed by the GWA in the report’s planning stages are as diverse as the ecosystems of Bangladesh themselves. Ranging from public health to increased market access, or livelihood strategies to improved governance – this proposal intends to provide a necessary framework for gender inclusion in every sector of the Delta Plan’s reach.
By tracking social indicators in the lives of women, researchers at GWA are pioneering ways to measure the participation of women in the water management sector, then proceeding to track changes in their quality of life. These indicators are measured in four sectors: social, economic, political, and physical.
The qualitative nature of measuring social phenomena will add a human element to the management of the Bangladesh’s ecosystem — access to education, societal standing, gender-friendly placement of tube wells, and presence in civil society are just a few of these measures. New methods of monitoring the lives of women add a much-anticipated social science research model that will complement the technical nature of BDP’s prior reports.
While data collection and analysis for the reports is still in the works, BDP looks forward to the effects of a baseline study of gender on the scope and impact of our projects. The promotion of quantitative and qualitative data, gender and water management, and communities yielding control of their resources will contribute to a sustainable, equitable future for Bangladesh.
Stay tuned for more detailed articles covering the specific policy recommendations released by BDP and GWA regarding integrated water management for women.
Article written by Logan Linnane, Project Management Assistant at Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100.
Photo Credit: Gender and Water Alliance Bangladesh.
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