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GENDER-DISAGGREGATED DATA ON WATER AND

4 | Obstacles to developing, collecting and using gender-disaggregated data on water & sanitation

The meeting devoted a session to identifying key obstacles and roadblocks to developing, collecting, and using gender-disaggregated data on water and sanitation. It identified problems in the structure of institutional culture, societal discrimination, in the dominant conceptualization and framework of WATSAN, in the “location” (conceptual and otherwise) of gender issues, in methodologies of data, and in the extent and seriousness of commitments and accountability.

Broad social/ cultural and institutional obstacles:

  • Within institutions, as in society at large, there is often active resistance to an agenda that takes gender seriously.

  • Gender issues are often seen as (and usually are) a challenge to ‘business as usual’; in all institutions, there are vested interests in not challenging/ changing power relations. To overcome obstacles, power relations inside (and outside) institutions often need to be directly challenged – and this may not be acceptable or allowable. Gender awareness also challenges the status quo of gender relations in societies and cultures; gender change in broad social relations is usually seen as threatening and is often deeply resisted.

  • Many institutions, often reflecting larger social values, incorporate discriminatory attitudes toward women and “women’s issues”; these may be trivialized, demeaned, or dismissed as less important, entirely unimportant, or distracting from “main” agenda.

Ms Kenza Kaouakib-Robinson, UN-DESA, Mr van Norden, UNICEF at the Expert Group Meeting on Gender and Water

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SA N I T A TI O N

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