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wH2O : The Journal of Gender and Water
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  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 2167-2822 - ISSN (Online) 2167-2830
Published by U of Pennsylvania Homepage  [13 journals]
  • It’s Art About Water Treatment! An interview with Mallory Chaput, the
           artist inspiring future water leaders-one artwork at a time

    • Authors: Swati Hegde
      Abstract: This article throws a spotlight on Mallory Chaput, an artist inspiring future water leaders to take up water careers. Through her coloring pages, paintings, and comics about the water treatment, Mallory is helping children re-imagine the water sector. Originally a landscaper, Mallory developed a profound interest in water and wastewater treatment and learned about it by visiting plants, talking to professionals, and studying engineering books. This article is a transcript of an interview with Mallory, featuring her background, her imaginative creations and her future goals.
      PubDate: Sat, 30 Apr 2022 08:15:38 PDT
  • Where There Are No Sewers: The Toilet Cleaners of Lucknow

    • Authors: Sharada Prasad et al.
      Abstract: Enormous progress has been made in the global effort to provide safe and affordable toilets for the world’s poorest citizens since World Toilet Day was first declared in 2001. Significant strides have been made in “reinventing” toilet designs for low-income, water-short, un-sewered urban zones; celebrities such as Bill Gates and Matt Damon have brought this once-taboo topic into the open; and the Prime Minister of India – the country with the highest number of people still practicing open defecation – has publicly declared that his country needs toilets over temples.Well over 2 billion people today lack access to basic sanitation facilities, according to the World Health Organization; about 760 million of them live in India. The goal of this Day is to make the global community aware of their right to safe and dignified sanitation, and to support public action and public policy to bring this right closer to those who do not enjoy it today. In this story, we focus on the back-end of the sanitation chain, on those who clean out latrines where there is no flush or sewer to carry away the waste. When this work is done without mechanical equipment and without protective clothing, scooping out feces from ‘dry’ latrines and overflowing pits, it is called “manual scavenging”.It’s an ancient profession, and India, which made the practice illegal in 1993, still has over 1 million such cleaners (the exact number is unknown and declining). They service low-income urban households and railway tracks and army barracks; they come from the lowest strata of the Hindu caste system; and about 90% of them are women. Despite valiant civil society (and several government) efforts to train them for other professions, breaking out of this denigrated castebased profession remains very difficult. Many mehters live in the shadows of society, invisible yet reviled, taunted yet essential, trapped in an unconstitutional practice without viable alternatives.In a real sense, seventy years after Indian independence, this is a community still waiting for its freedom. In this photo-essay we explore the daily lives of the toilet-cleaners: their homes, their hopes, their work, and their determination to get their children out of it. If World Toilet Day is about expanding access to clean toilets, it must also be about those who have to clean the toilets.
      PubDate: Sat, 30 Apr 2022 07:55:38 PDT
  • El Agua Es Oro: A Human Centered Solution for the City of Cochabamba,

    • Authors: Natalia Mendoza et al.
      Abstract: The purpose of El Agua Es Oro (The Water is Gold) is to satisfy social needs, specifically for women living in peri-urban areas, with a more advanced efficiency. El Agua Es Oro creates an added value for people’s well-being by maximizing socio-environmental context and not just focusing on for-profit economics. Nevertheless, it is noteworthy to generate economic resources to sustain the impact that the organization seeks to achieve. El Agua Es Oro is a social enterprise based on the application of social innovation with the methodology and tools of a people-centered design, focusing on teenage girls and women. The foundations of the project and the pre-conceived idea were born from the informal field work that was carried out with a small community in Cochabamba, Bolivia, based on the women’s needs to access greater hygiene and sanitation. The core of the social project showed the difficulties faced in the area, from socio-environmental problems, going through the lack of access to water, to the lack of public initiatives from the State and non-profit organizations for the community. To ensure the sustainability of the planned intervention, this project plan has been carried out as informal fieldwork and research for more than a year. The project is divided into segments that identify the analysis of the macro environment, implement the strategic marketing, determine the resources needed, design the operations, and finally analyze the assessment of viability.
      PubDate: Sat, 30 Apr 2022 07:50:49 PDT
  • Climate Change, Differential Impacts on Women and Gender Mainstreaming: A
           Case Study of East Rapti Watershed, Nepal

    • Authors: Anupama Ray
      Abstract: Women and water share a great deal of nexus in several ways. However, women have still minimal control over the management of water resources, making them more vulnerable to climate change. This paper assesses how climate change impacts differently across different women groups using an intersectionality lens, thereby exploring the situation of gender mainstreaming in water sector in three communities, namely, Karaiya, Basauli, and Dadagaun in Khairahani Municipality located in the East Rapti watershed, Nepal. In this perception- based study, we conducted three key informant interviews and household interviews with 45 women of different castes, ages, communities, education levels, and occupations. The results showed that different groups of women perceive climate change and its impact differently. For instance, women engaged in agriculture are more aware of the impact of climate change and are affected more by it because of changing trends in rainfall and temperature resulting in water shortage and flooding. On the other hand, they experience more physical and mental stress because of a higher responsibility of both agriculture and household . Despite 80% of female involvement in water user committees, there is a gap in participation by all groups of women. Irrespective of literacy and work engagement, women of Karaiya and Basauli, were less aware and active than Dadagau in various water development and management activities because of time constraints, family background, lesser interest, and awareness. Therefore, more efforts are required to achieve significant progress in gender mainstreaming considering intersectionality in the water sector and climate change.
      PubDate: Sat, 30 Apr 2022 07:35:49 PDT
  • Gender in the Water Industry One Man of Transgender Experience’s

    • Authors: Ari Copeland
      Abstract: is a complex topic Most people often confuse gender and sex; Most folks don’t realize that there are at least 57 genders and gender is a spectrum Some people within our workplace and the water industry don’t identify as a man or a woman, and/or their gender is more fluid (gender-expansive. In our day-to-day interactions with others, we often assume someone’s gender based on their appearance, mannerisms, and other social cues that vary depending on the culture Additionally, assuming everyone fits into the gender binary (just men and women is often-times a barrier to being inclusive and making people feel safe and valued People who don’t fit into the gender binary are often referred to as transgender. The term “transgender” is an umbrella term that includes a lot of people who are binary but feel their gender is not in alignment with the sex they were assigned at birth; It also includes folks who do not identify as a man or woman or their gender is fluid (often called gender-expansive or gender non-binary. Some trans people do medical transition while others do not. Trans is a Latin prefix that means “across,” and Cis means “same ” Someone whose gender aligns with their gender and sex assigned at birth would be referred to as cisgender For example, I am a man of transgender experience (also a transgender man or transman). I was assigned female at birth but transitioned to male during the course of my life I have spent a little more than half my career being perceived as male People often assume I am a cisgender man, go by male pronouns, and am straight because of my appearance, I have a long beard and stocky build – very masculine appearance. My gender identity is male; however, I have many interests and behaviors that do not align with the norm of what people assume are male. I don’t enjoy sports, and I often talk with inflection in my voice (my voice goes up and down when I talk – largely because women are taught to speak in that fashion. Based on what I look like, people often assume I am straight. A lot of people often wonder why does this matter in the workplace This article will discuss my past and current experience working in the water industry, as well as some information to help readers foster inclusive behaviors
      PubDate: Sat, 30 Apr 2022 07:10:54 PDT
  • Women and Water: Lessons Learned from a Humanitarian Intervention at Igusi
           Clinic, Matabeleland, Zimbabwe

    • Authors: Rachel C. Svetanoff et al.
      Abstract: This article highlights the disproportionate impact of water scarcity on women and girls in Matabeleland, Zimbabwe. We emphasize one Zimbabwean woman's efforts to implement a sustainable water solution for a community of 20,000 citizens. Lumbie Mlambo, Founder and President of the nonprofit JB Dondolo, Inc., took action following reports that people in the community her father was aiding were falling ill, mothers could not carry their pregnancy to full terms, and infant mortality rates were rising. Before Lumbie's intervention, the only water available was contaminated by polluted soil. Moreover, the climate change-induced droughts and floods made the potable water hard to find and collect. As a result, the only source of water infrastructure was at the Igusi birthing clinic and the nearby secondary school sharing the same pipe system. This lack of clean water particularly affected pregnant women who gave birth at the clinic and their newborns and the girls who attended the nearby school. Following her father's death, Lumbie set out to fulfill his dying wish to help the people he was serving. While she faced many obstacles, Lumbie overcame these challenges and removed barriers of access to clean water for the community. Lessons learned from this experience include gender biases in humanitarianism, community participation, and water resource management planning. Key recommendations include early stakeholder engagement in community development, elevation of women's voices, and investment in partnership building.
      PubDate: Sun, 13 Feb 2022 05:20:05 PST
  • Exploring sustainable degrowth-based adaptation to climate
           change-aggravated water insecurity in parts of rural India: A gender
           relations approach

    • Authors: Nairita Roy Chaudhuri
      Abstract: This article reviews the theoretical concept of ‘sustainable adaptation’ to climate change and water scarcity using a gender-relations approach by answering the following questions: i) What is a sustainable adaptation to climate change' ii) Based on a literature review, how does gender interact with climate change adaptation to water scarcity and droughts in rural India' (iii) How do the concepts of sustainable adaptation, degrowth, and gender relations interact on the ground, pertaining to water justice'The paper argues that climate change adaptation and development goals can harmonize only if they rectify root causes of vulnerabilities. For adaptation actions to yield sustainable outcomes, they need to be embedded in a just degrowth politics that transforms unequal power relations, including gender relations with water. In India, degrowth is about ecological, economic, and social justice that calls for transformation of the economy. This transformation looks into the lifecycle of goods - how goods are produced, composed, assembled, distributed, consumed, and regenerated today; further degrowth strategy explores alternate, just, non-extractive, decolonial, and democratically-led trajectories that sustain the web of life. This paper discusses five interrelated principles of sustainable degrowth-based adaptation that center on community-based notions of water and gender justice.
      PubDate: Sun, 13 Feb 2022 05:20:04 PST
  • Access to Clean Water for Women in Iraq: Accorded Rights

    • Authors: Bakir H. Amin
      Abstract: After the Iraqi government was established in 1921, it had a little problem receiving a sufficient quantity of high-quality water from the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers. However, the upstream countries of Turkey, Syria, and Iran soon built dams and canal on the shared rivers in the latter half of the 20th century. Furthermore, engaged in prolonged military conflicts such as the Iranian-Iraq War of the 1980s, the Gulf War of the 1990s, the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the ongoing ISIS occupation in the region, Iraq's political, economic, and social infrastructures have been crippled in the wake of hastily set up regimes, leading to the bombing of urban infrastructure. This bombing has devastated Iraq's water system to the point of near destruction. In other words, upstream states' water policies and armed conflicts have led to much of Iraq's water resources and infrastructure either getting distracted or destroyed. As a result, individuals suffer from a lack of access to clean water and sanitation, and this has been made worse for some vulnerable groups such as women to feel the impacts of water scarcity acutely. Regardless, women’s access to safe and clean water in Iraq is exponentially becoming a crisis within a crisis. These circumstances have resulted in socio-economic instability, which with many conflicts has disproportionately affected both women and minority groups. As a result, these vulnerable groups face a plethora of human rights abuses, such as attacks on personal security, labor rights, economic rights, access to healthcare, and access to public education.
      PubDate: Sun, 13 Feb 2022 05:20:04 PST
  • Women Water Leaders in the Making: South Asian Water Leadership Programme
           on Climate Change

    • Authors: Sreenita Mondal et al.
      Abstract: The South Asia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Water Resources Studies (Saci- WATERs) a water policy research institute based in Hyderabad, India, launched the South Asian Water (SAWA) Leadership Programme on climate change in 2017. The SaciWATERs is hosting the programme in collaboration with four partner engineering institutes from four South Asian countries, and with funding support from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada. This academic-oriented programme is aimed at facilitating the creation of a group of interdisciplinary women leaders in South Asia that share a common understanding of the crosscutting scientific and societal issues of water resource management. The four-year (2017-2021) SAWA leadership programme has granted fellowships to 36 fellows that were selected from the partner institutes namely Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka; Nepal Engineering College, Kathmandu; University of Peradeniya, Kandy; and Anna University, Chennai. The programme places emphasis on intensive training in the application of research methods that include gender and social approaches and in leadership skills development through activities such as team-building sessions, application of negotiations and conflict resolution in the field, mentorship and networking. The project also collaborates with governments, NGOs and the private sector to facilitate internships in order to provide an authentic work environment allowing candidates to link their research to actual decisions and applications within the communities with which they are engaging. In addition, it promotes a common understanding of the way social and cultural interpretations of gender intersect with the issues of climate change and water insecurities. It does so not only among the male and female students enrolled in an IWRM master’s programme but also among faculty members, through trainings and common curriculum development across the four engineering institutions. This allows for the development of a broad base of trainers and researchers, both men and women, who will share the leadership programme’s vision.
      PubDate: Fri, 05 Mar 2021 11:56:32 PST
  • Understanding Barriers and Challenges for Women’s Access to Water in
           Northern Rwanda

    • Authors: Megan Swanson et al.
      Abstract: Clean drinking water and sanitation have been acknowledged as basic human needs and rights by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. According to the UN, water must be sufficient, affordable, physically accessible, and safe in order to meet human needs. In this study, a survey and a Water Source Mapping participatory method were employed to investigate a sample of Rwandan women’s access to water. Two hundred and seven (207) women were surveyed regarding water use and access, and results were compared based on education levels and membership in income-earning cooperatives operated by a local organization, the Gorilla Guardians Village (GGV). In addition, 26 GGV cooperative members completed a Water Source Mapping activity that explored where women collected water and the challenges they faced in doing so. Descriptive analyses indicated that a majority of women reported insufficient water access, regardless of education level and membership in cooperatives. The Water Source Mapping indicated that women primarily use a free, GGV-operated tap for water, although water is not always available at the location due to breakages and other challenges. In those instances, women travel long distances and pay more money to collect water at other locations. The results of the study indicate that women’s access to water remains a challenge, even for women with high levels of education, opportunities to earn income, and access to a nearby water tap. We argue that strategies to provide reliable access to sufficient, affordable, physically accessible, and safe water must be thorough, taking into account infrastructure, women’s education, household income and other factors simultaneously to address the entire social-ecological system in which water is accessed in order to achieve desired outcomes.
      PubDate: Fri, 05 Mar 2021 11:56:29 PST
  • Eleanor Allen: On a Mission to Provide Safe Water for Everyone, Forever

    • Authors: wH2O staff
      Abstract: Eleanor Allen is a global water expert dedicated to helping millions of people access the safe and sustainable water and sanitation services needed to save lives, stay healthy, earn more money, and thrive. Eleanor is fiercely passionate about improving the state of the world with respect to water and sanitation. She has dedicated her career to this goal, first as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic, then as a consulting engineer (at CH2M/Jacobs and Arcadis), and now as the CEO of Water For People. Eleanor has lived and worked all over the world. As a professional civil engineer, business executive, and CEO, she has led large global and regional operations, managed projects and programs, developed business and raised funds, and designed water and wastewater treatment plants. Eleanor believes that societal change can be accelerated through social entrepreneurship and the efforts of organizations like Water For People. This article tells the story of Eleanor’s inspirational life and career journey, provides technical aspects of her current work, and shares her encouraging message on living life with a purpose to young water enthusiasts.
      PubDate: Fri, 05 Mar 2021 11:56:27 PST
  • Using Participatory Design to Develop a Menstrual Hygiene Management
           Intervention: Designing WASH UP! Girl Talk in Zimbabwe

    • Authors: Kim Foulds et al.
      Abstract: Globally, as more girls transition from primary to secondary education, there is a new generation of girls who will have to manage their menses in school environments. Few schools are designed with girls’ menstrual hygiene management (MHM) needs in mind and many girls begin menstruating without knowing what is happening to them. This lack of knowledge about menstruation is associated with profound psychological and reproductive health issues. As such, school-based WASH interventions, especially those focused on MHM, can improve educational opportunities, promote lifelong health, and enhance the wellbeing of children and their families. In Zimbabwe, these global realities hold true, where menstruation is a taboo subject and girls find it difficult to access accurate information and are unable to manage their menstruation safely, hygienically, and with dignity and privacy.An effective solution to these challenges must address school infrastructure concerns and limitations in knowledge, attitudes, and practices around MHM. In response, Sesame Workshop, in collaboration with World Vision, launched WASH UP! Girl Talk in Zimbabwe, targeting students 10-14 years old. Girl Talk involved the development and implementation of an intervention aimed at improving students’ knowledge and practice of healthy hygiene behaviors. Girl Talk also focused on increasing girls’ confidence in their personal MHM. This article highlights the development of Girl Talk and its focus on participatory design to standardize a curriculum framework, implementation process, and research approach to contextualize education content. This process of program design, grounded in the intersections of best practices and local knowledge, provides both a conceptual and practical framework to inform future MHM interventions.
      PubDate: Fri, 05 Mar 2021 11:56:24 PST
  • Addressing Women’s Sanitation-related Safety Concerns in Slums of
           Maharashtra, India

    • Authors: Mehul Banka et al.
      Abstract: Through this paper we explore women’s vulnerability during sanitation activities and the impact that household toilets have on women’s safety-related concerns. This study covers 4 cities in the state of Maharashtra– Pune, Pimpri- Chinchwad, Thane, and Kolhapur - where Shelter Associates has provided many slum households with toilets under its One Home One Toilet (OHOT) programme. A good part of the programme’s intention is to offer women an alternative to using their existing, inadequate public sanitation facilities, a problem that was highlighted during discussions with slum women themselves. Shelter Associates is a Maharashtra-based NGO established in 1993 that provides low cost sanitation and housing to slum residents.
      PubDate: Fri, 05 Mar 2021 11:56:21 PST
  • Pushing Forward in the Changing Water Sector: An Interview with Kishia L.
           Powell, COO, DC Water

    • Authors: Abigail Drabick
      Abstract: Kishia Powell is a licensed Professional Engineer in the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Morgan State University’s Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. School of Engineering. Currently, Powell is Chief Operating Officer at DC Water, where she manages 80% of the water authority’s resources. With over 22 years of experience, Kishia Powell sheds light on the value of water, her experience as a leader and a woman in the water utilities industry, the COVID-19 pandemic, and climate change in this interview with The Journal of Gender and Water. Through her storytelling of challenges, progress, and triumphs, not only do we get a window in Kishia Powell’s career journey, but the water sector as a whole. From the complex conversations about racial equity, access, and affordability in public systems, to infrastructure investment we can see through Powell’s experiences that she, alongside other empowered leaders, are actively addressing these matters and pushing the industry forward.
      PubDate: Fri, 05 Mar 2021 11:56:19 PST
  • Here, There, and Everywhere: The Problem with Microplastics in Water and
           What Women Scientists Are Doing to Solve It

    • Authors: Pamela Lazos
      Abstract: Plastics — ubiquitous material we cannot seem to live without — are everywhere, but sadly we cannot live with plastics either, at least not peaceably, especially when you consider there will be more plastics in the ocean than fish by 2050. In the intervening years, the photodegradation of plastic resulting in microplastics pollution will be an even bigger problem, affecting every living creature in the ocean, and by extrapolation, mankind. The choices we make and the steps we take to combat the overabundance of plastics in our environment will dictate not just the next 30 years, but the fate of the world thereafter. This is not science fiction, but modern life. This article discusses the microplastics problem and some potential solutions.
      PubDate: Fri, 05 Mar 2021 11:56:16 PST
  • Brianna Huber on Women in Leadership, Her2O™, and the Future of

    • Authors: wH2O staff
      Abstract: Brianna is both the founder/executive director of Her 2O™ and director of Water Filtration at a municipal drinking water utility. She achieves her primary goal of #buildingthefutureofwater by focusing on four important facets of the water industry: women in water, internships & mentoring, smart water & analytics, and emergency management. Her 2O™ is an international 501c3 nonprofit with the vision of women equitably involved in water management in every corner of the globe. This transcript provides an interview with Brianna about her inspirational journey in the water sector.
      PubDate: Fri, 05 Mar 2021 11:56:14 PST
  • Facing Rural Water Insecurities: Adapting Gendered Indigenous Approaches
           in Ondo State, Nigeria

    • Authors: PAUL AWONIYI
      Abstract: The participation of women in water management is critical for households and for safeguarding the health and hygiene of rural women and men, especially in Africa and around the world. This paper argues that the knowledge around gender- based water management among rural dwellers is still underrepresented and provides the rationale for this study. Qualitative methods were used to examine the approaches in rural water management and their impact on women and their livelihoods through interviews, narratives, and the respondents’ everyday experiences. Significant findings from this study revealed that the indigenous participation of women in water management at individual households improved the quality of water among the rural dwellers. Further findings also showed that the impact of gender insensitivity has reemphasized the limited role of women in rural water management (RWM) at the community level. It was concluded that various indigenous practices by women in an effort to make water potable in these villages have contributed to meeting their practical gender needs (PGNs) based on their cultural roles. However, channeling water from surrounding rivers by pipe into every street and regular gender awareness assembly between men and women across the rural communities could improve the livelihood of women by contributing to their strategic gender needs (SGNs).
      PubDate: Fri, 05 Mar 2021 11:56:11 PST
  • Overcoming Barriers to Women’s Participation in Water Supply through
           Innovative Technology

    • Authors: Gillian Winkler et al.
      Abstract: Research from the global development sector repeatedly shows that convenient access to safe water improves women’s quality of life. Similarly, digital technology is increasingly highlighted as an essential component for increasing women’s educational, economic, and civic opportunities—yet a gender divide exists. As digital technology becomes more prevalent in managing effective and reliable safe water services, the water sector has the opportunity to both create new channels for women to engage with technology and use technology to make safe water supply more responsive to women’s needs. In this article, we will explore how technology is deployed within the small water enterprise (SWE) value chain to produce benefits for women beyond immediate safe water access. Using Safe Water Network’s experience in India, where it launched a program with Honeywell Hometown Solutions to center women as safe water suppliers, as well as Saha Global’s program in Ghana, we will highlight how technology advances women’s roles as active participants in the local economy through their responsibilities as SWE managers and operators.
      PubDate: Fri, 05 Mar 2021 11:56:09 PST
  • Contributions of the Women Groups of West Bengal, India for Solving Rural
           Water Challenges

    • Authors: Mina Das
      Abstract: Poor rural communities suffer from many socio-economic issues; however, the availability of clean and safe water is the fundamental challenge amongst all other hindrances confronted by these communities. This article focuses on the non-profit organization, Nishtha (meaning dedication) and their intervention in women empowerment for better water accessibility in rural communities of West Bengal, India. The paper will further highlight the so-called “rural ignorant women’s endeavour” in innovative thought and strategy to protect their own families and the community. The article also discusses Nishtha’s intervention during water crises and disasters using a participatory approach involving women.
      PubDate: Fri, 05 Mar 2021 11:56:06 PST
  • Irrigation in Agriculture: A Driver of Social Differentiation and an
           Empowering Livelihood Option for Rural Women

    • Authors: Laura Imburgia et al.
      Abstract: This paper presents empirical evidence on issues of gender roles, agricultural livelihoods, and social differentiation in communal small-scale irrigation studied in Ethiopia and Argentina. Findings revealed that irrespective of the cultural setting, many women in irrigation remain constrained by structural inequalities regarding access to secure, reliable and affordable irrigation water. These constraints are driven by entrenched power dynamics, social relations and wealth handicaps. These findings contrast with long-standing efforts to devise agricultural policies aimed at reducing gender asymmetries and improving conditions for women in agriculture. In this paper, the case for strengthening irrigation as an empowering livelihood option for rural women is presented.
      PubDate: Fri, 05 Mar 2021 11:56:03 PST
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