Building and developing women leaders in climate change and IWRM
Women and water are intrinsically linked. The sharp gender division of work makes it women’s responsibility to secure, manage and store water for the household needs; also, a greater dependence of women on natural resources in rural areas make them more vulnerable to extreme climatic events. Furthermore, when coupled with unequal access to resources and to decision-making processes and limited mobility makes women disproportionately vulnerable to climatic shocks and changes. Currently, there is an important lack of gender sensitive strategies to address such environmental and humanitarian crises caused by climate change. It is a well-known fact that the decision-making within the water sector in south Asia is dominated by men at all levels and there is a dearth of women water professionals. It is expected that the framing of policies and implementation of water-related projects would become more gender sensitive if women are consulted at most stages in the planning process. We also consider it important to sensitize a wider group, both men and women, about a gender sensitive orientation of water resource management and climate change adaptation policies. In this context, the South Asia Water (SAWA) Fellowship project has created interdisciplinary water professionals in South Asia that are mainly women who are trained to address water and climate issues scientifically through interdisciplinary lens, beyond nation-state boundaries. The SAWA fellows who have completed the fellowship now hold prominent positions in several areas in water, as policy makers, academics and water practitioners.