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GENDER-DISAGGREGATED DATA ON WATER AND

  • The United Nations could take the lead in accountability with incentives. There is a critical need for a lead agency on gender at the UN – UNIFEM does not have the clout or resources it would need to play this role.

  • Within the UN, there is no leader in gender data initiatives.

  • Reporting formats typically don’t require gender analysis, thus it is easy to ignore gender. Governments should develop and insist on gender-disaggregated data guidelines, and the UN should hold governments accountable to do so.

Problems characteristic of WATSAN sectors:

  • Water and sanitation are seen to be “gender-neutral” and common resources, and thus it is especially difficult for many participants within WATSAN to understand why one would need to consider gender.

  • There is a general lack of awareness of the importance of gender- disaggregated data across participants -- from community groups to NGOs to governmental agencies. The basic “why” of collecting gender disaggregated data is often not appreciated nor understood. The “added value” and importance of infusing WATSAN approaches with gender perspectives does not inform general understanding. To the extent that there is an interest in gender disaggregated data, this is typically seen as an appendage, never as the main issue.

  • The water/ sanitation sector is dominated by technical/ technological/ infrastructure/ engineering and biophysical perspectives, not social. Because of this sectoral bias, this is a largely male-populated and male-identified field. There are few women technicians, statisticians, policy makers, or leaders in these sectors.

  • Water service providers, who typically have closely calibrated data collection capacities, typically don’t evaluate or collect social or gender-informed data.

  • Water and sanitation experts are often isolated from other experts, other perspectives, and new paradigms. Because of the technical and technological tendency of this sector, WATSAN experts are often especially isolated from people doing social analysis. This points to a need to engage in multidisciplinary education/ conversation at all levels, of all types, across WATSAN sectors.

  • For those people who are doing gender work in relations to WATSAN, gender there is usually no “place” (literal or otherwise) to share information or to learn from one another. This is particularly stark in the context of disasters and the intersection of gender, water, sanitation and disaster. Groups and individuals who work in these areas typically do their work in isolation. Among other things, this blocks the possibility of learning from the lessons of other groups and people.

Data collection and methodology:

  • Because of the hierarchy and centralization of statistics-gathering, the same data are collected over and over. It is often very difficult and costly to change data collection systems. Gender needs to be embedded within them from first place.

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SA N I T A TI O N

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