wH2O: The Journal of Gender and Water: Volume 9, Issue 1

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  • Publication
    El Agua Es Oro: A Human Centered Solution for the City of Cochabamba, Bolivia
    (2022-04-30) Mendoza, Natalia; Olmedo, Camilia
    The purpose of El Agua Es Oro (The Water is Gold) is to satisfy social needs, specifically for women living in peri-urban areas, with a more advanced efficiency. El Agua Es Oro creates an added value for people’s well-being by maximizing socio-environmental context and not just focusing on for-profit economics. Nevertheless, it is noteworthy to generate economic resources to sustain the impact that the organization seeks to achieve. El Agua Es Oro is a social enterprise based on the application of social innovation with the methodology and tools of a people-centered design, focusing on teenage girls and women. The foundations of the project and the pre-conceived idea were born from the informal field work that was carried out with a small community in Cochabamba, Bolivia, based on the women’s needs to access greater hygiene and sanitation. The core of the social project showed the difficulties faced in the area, from socio-environmental problems, going through the lack of access to water, to the lack of public initiatives from the State and non-profit organizations for the community. To ensure the sustainability of the planned intervention, this project plan has been carried out as informal fieldwork and research for more than a year. The project is divided into segments that identify the analysis of the macro environment, implement the strategic marketing, determine the resources needed, design the operations, and finally analyze the assessment of viability.
  • Publication
    It’s Art About Water Treatment! An interview with Mallory Chaput, the artist inspiring future water leaders-one artwork at a time
    (2022-04-30) Hegde, Swati
    This article throws a spotlight on Mallory Chaput, an artist inspiring future water leaders to take up water careers. Through her coloring pages, paintings, and comics about the water treatment, Mallory is helping children re-imagine the water sector. Originally a landscaper, Mallory developed a profound interest in water and wastewater treatment and learned about it by visiting plants, talking to professionals, and studying engineering books. This article is a transcript of an interview with Mallory, featuring her background, her imaginative creations and her future goals.
  • Publication
    Access to Clean Water for Women in Iraq: Accorded Rights
    (2022-02-13) H. Amin, Bakir
    After the Iraqi government was established in 1921, it had a little problem receiving a sufficient quantity of high-quality water from the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers. However, the upstream countries of Turkey, Syria, and Iran soon built dams and canal on the shared rivers in the latter half of the 20th century. Furthermore, engaged in prolonged military conflicts such as the Iranian-Iraq War of the 1980s, the Gulf War of the 1990s, the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the ongoing ISIS occupation in the region, Iraq’s political, economic, and social infrastructures have been crippled in the wake of hastily set up regimes, leading to the bombing of urban infrastructure. This bombing has devastated Iraq’s water system to the point of near destruction. In other words, upstream states’ water policies and armed conflicts have led to much of Iraq’s water resources and infrastructure either getting distracted or destroyed. As a result, individuals suffer from a lack of access to clean water and sanitation, and this has been made worse for some vulnerable groups such as women to feel the impacts of water scarcity acutely. Regardless, women’s access to safe and clean water in Iraq is exponentially becoming a crisis within a crisis. These circumstances have resulted in socio-economic instability, which with many conflicts has disproportionately affected both women and minority groups. As a result, these vulnerable groups face a plethora of human rights abuses, such as attacks on personal security, labour rights, economic rights, access to healthcare, and access to public education.
  • Publication
    Women and Water: Lessons Learned from a Humanitarian Intervention at Igusi Clinic, Matabeleland, Zimbabwe
    (2022-02-13) Svetanoff, Rachel C; Ilobodo, Ifeoma
    This article highlights the disproportionate impact of water scarcity on women and girls in Matabeleland, Zimbabwe. We emphasize one Zimbabwean woman's efforts to implement a sustainable water solution for a community of 20,000 citizens. Lumbie Mlambo, Founder and President of the nonprofit JB Dondolo, Inc., took action following reports that people in the community her father was aiding were falling ill, mothers could not carry their pregnancy to full terms, and infant mortality rates were rising. Before Lumbie's intervention, the only water available was contaminated by polluted soil. Moreover, the climate change-induced droughts and floods made the potable water hard to find and collect. As a result, the only source of water infrastructure was at the Igusi birthing clinic and the nearby secondary school sharing the same pipe system. This lack of clean water particularly affected pregnant women who gave birth at the clinic and their newborns and the girls who attended the nearby school. Following her father's death, Lumbie set out to fulfill his dying wish to help the people he was serving. While she faced many obstacles, Lumbie overcame these challenges and removed barriers of access to clean water for the community. Lessons learned from this experience include gender biases in humanitarianism, community participation, and water resource management planning. Key recommendations include early stakeholder engagement in community development, elevation of women's voices, and investment in partnership building.
  • Publication
    Climate Change, Differential Impacts on Women and Gender Mainstreaming: A Case Study of East Rapti Watershed, Nepal
    (2022-04-30) Ray, Anupama
    Women and water share a great deal of nexus in several ways. However, women have still minimal control over the management of water resources, making them more vulnerable to climate change. This paper assesses how climate change impacts differently across different women groups using an intersectionality lens, thereby exploring the situation of gender mainstreaming in water sector in three communities, namely, Karaiya, Basauli, and Dadagaun in Khairahani Municipality located in the East Rapti watershed, Nepal. In this perception- based study, we conducted three key informant interviews and household interviews with 45 women of different castes, ages, communities, education levels, and occupations. The results showed that different groups of women perceive climate change and its impact differently. For instance, women engaged in agriculture are more aware of the impact of climate change and are affected more by it because of changing trends in rainfall and temperature resulting in water shortage and flooding. On the other hand, they experience more physical and mental stress because of a higher responsibility of both agriculture and household . Despite 80% of female involvement in water user committees, there is a gap in participation by all groups of women. Irrespective of literacy and work engagement, women of Karaiya and Basauli, were less aware and active than Dadagau in various water development and management activities because of time constraints, family background, lesser interest, and awareness. Therefore, more efforts are required to achieve significant progress in gender mainstreaming considering intersectionality in the water sector and climate change.
  • Publication
    Gender in the Water Industry One Man of Transgender Experience’s Story
    (2022-04-30) Copeland, Ari
    is a complex topic Most people often confuse gender and sex; Most folks don’t realize that there are at least 57 genders and gender is a spectrum Some people within our workplace and the water industry don’t identify as a man or a woman, and/or their gender is more fluid (gender-expansive. In our day-to-day interactions with others, we often assume someone’s gender based on their appearance, mannerisms, and other social cues that vary depending on the culture Additionally, assuming everyone fits into the gender binary (just men and women is often-times a barrier to being inclusive and making people feel safe and valued People who don’t fit into the gender binary are often referred to as transgender. The term “transgender” is an umbrella term that includes a lot of people who are binary but feel their gender is not in alignment with the sex they were assigned at birth; It also includes folks who do not identify as a man or woman or their gender is fluid (often called gender-expansive or gender non-binary. Some trans people do medical transition while others do not. Trans is a Latin prefix that means “across,” and Cis means “same ” Someone whose gender aligns with their gender and sex assigned at birth would be referred to as cisgender For example, I am a man of transgender experience (also a transgender man or transman). I was assigned female at birth but transitioned to male during the course of my life I have spent a little more than half my career being perceived as male People often assume I am a cisgender man, go by male pronouns, and am straight because of my appearance, I have a long beard and stocky build – very masculine appearance. My gender identity is male; however, I have many interests and behaviors that do not align with the norm of what people assume are male. I don’t enjoy sports, and I often talk with inflection in my voice (my voice goes up and down when I talk – largely because women are taught to speak in that fashion. Based on what I look like, people often assume I am straight. A lot of people often wonder why does this matter in the workplace This article will discuss my past and current experience working in the water industry, as well as some information to help readers foster inclusive behaviors
  • Publication
    Where There Are No Sewers: The Toilet Cleaners of Lucknow
    (2022-04-30) Prasad, Sharada; Ray, Isha
    Enormous progress has been made in the global effort to provide safe and affordable toilets for the world’s poorest citizens since World Toilet Day was first declared in 2001. Significant strides have been made in “reinventing” toilet designs for low-income, water-short, un-sewered urban zones; celebrities such as Bill Gates and Matt Damon have brought this once-taboo topic into the open; and the Prime Minister of India – the country with the highest number of people still practicing open defecation – has publicly declared that his country needs toilets over temples. Well over 2 billion people today lack access to basic sanitation facilities, according to the World Health Organization; about 760 million of them live in India. The goal of this Day is to make the global community aware of their right to safe and dignified sanitation, and to support public action and public policy to bring this right closer to those who do not enjoy it today. In this story, we focus on the back-end of the sanitation chain, on those who clean out latrines where there is no flush or sewer to carry away the waste. When this work is done without mechanical equipment and without protective clothing, scooping out feces from ‘dry’ latrines and overflowing pits, it is called “manual scavenging”. It’s an ancient profession, and India, which made the practice illegal in 1993, still has over 1 million such cleaners (the exact number is unknown and declining). They service low-income urban households and railway tracks and army barracks; they come from the lowest strata of the Hindu caste system; and about 90% of them are women. Despite valiant civil society (and several government) efforts to train them for other professions, breaking out of this denigrated castebased profession remains very difficult. Many mehters live in the shadows of society, invisible yet reviled, taunted yet essential, trapped in an unconstitutional practice without viable alternatives. In a real sense, seventy years after Indian independence, this is a community still waiting for its freedom. In this photo-essay we explore the daily lives of the toilet-cleaners: their homes, their hopes, their work, and their determination to get their children out of it. If World Toilet Day is about expanding access to clean toilets, it must also be about those who have to clean the toilets.
  • Publication
    Exploring sustainable degrowth-based adaptation to climate change-aggravated water insecurity in parts of rural India: A gender relations approach
    (2022-04-30) Roy Chaudhuri, Nairita
    This article reviews the theoretical concept of ‘sustainable adaptation’ to climate change and water scarcity using a gender-relations approach by answering the following questions: i) What is a sustainable adaptation to climate change? ii) Based on a literature review, how does gender interact with climate change adaptation to water scarcity and droughts in rural India? (iii) How do the concepts of sustainable adaptation, degrowth, and gender relations interact on the ground, pertaining to water justice? The paper argues that climate change adaptation and development goals can harmonize only if they rectify root causes of vulnerabilities. For adaptation actions to yield sustainable outcomes, they need to be embedded in a just degrowth politics that transforms unequal power relations, including gender relations with water. In India, degrowth is about ecological, economic, and social justice that calls for transformation of the economy. This transformation looks into the lifecycle of goods - how goods are produced, composed, assembled, distributed, consumed, and regenerated today; further degrowth strategy explores alternate, just, non-extractive, decolonial, and democratically-led trajectories that sustain the web of life. This paper discusses five interrelated principles of sustainable degrowth-based adaptation that center on community-based notions of water and gender justice.