Cross-cutting issueMainstreaming gender perspectives into all our work

Gender equality is one of SIWI’s three cross-cutting issues, influencing all our work. All SIWI staff are trained to understand and reflect on how norms and expectations related to gender shape every aspect of life.

Silhouettes of people.Silhouettes of people. Image by Pressfoto.

Water issues are gendered. Around the world, fetching water is disproportionately a woman’s task, and yet women are often unable to influence water governance issues. At SIWI, we want to be part of changing this and gender equality is mainstreamed into all our activities.

Gender relations are constructed by a range of institutions – political, legal, cultural, religious, economic, and domestic – often to the disadvantage of women. Norms related to gender determine who has access to and control over services, goods, and resources. This is also true for decisions about who gets what water. Women tend to be underrepresented in political processes related to water.

In SIWI’s work to strengthen water governance, we focus on incorporating gender perspectives, together with analyses of how gender relations intersect with poverty, ethnicity, origin, age, disability, and sexuality expression. Without this understanding, it is not possible to create effective and inclusive water policies.

The same perspective should be reflected in the different types of capacity-building activities that SIWI organizes, whether it is with water utilities, business leaders, policymakers, or diplomats. SIWI can also offer specific training on how to mainstream gender awareness and make processes more inclusive.

Here are some examples of our work: