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quantified to facilitate cross-case comparisons. Techniques to do so have already been developed and are proving their value; for example, ranked- qualitative scales can be developed to assess the quality of women’s participation in decision-making bodies (rather than simply looking at the presence of women in such a group).

Both the water and sanitation sectors are dominated by engineering and infrastructure frameworks. The ‘problem’ of water and sanitation is often reduced to one of engineering.

“Second-effect” indicators may be particularly useful in filling out a gender-sensitive view of the implications of limited quality of water and sanitation. For example, indicators of the quality of drinking water and the hygiene levels of sanitation can point to labor burdens that fall to women; if people fall ill from polluted water, it is women who are responsible for looking after them. It is possible that the time spent by women on family members ill from bad water and sanitation might, worldwide, be much higher then time spent on gathering water, which is now a worldwide indicator.

To establish an effective gender-disaggregated data regime will require new indicators, new approaches, and new capacity-building. However, a lot of progress could be made by incorporating gender and water/ sanitation indicators/ questions into existing capacities, surveys, measurements and approaches. For example:

  • UNDP could incorporate WATSAN as one component of its composite gender indices, the Gender Development Index (GDI) and the Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM); a relatively easy entry point would be to incorporate into these indices statistics on women in governmental decision-making bodies on water and sanitation;

  • UNICEF and UNESCO are well placed to collect gender-specific data on school sanitation;

  • UNIFEM could incorporate water into their time-use studies.

Accountability is missing at all levels. Given sufficient political will, for example, projects could be halted if women’s participation is absent or if no gendered information is available. Responsibility for reporting on improved gender equity using rigorous gender-disaggregated data could be embedded in senior manager job descriptions.

Incentives for governments/organizations could be used to encourage them to prioritize gender-disaggregation. International multilateral research donors’ criteria for research funding could be shifted to support greater gender-disaggregated data in all areas and capacity building for collection and analysis.


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