The Challenges and Ways forward in Gender Mainstreaming in the Water sector in Arid and Semi-arid India

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The goal of gender mainstreaming will not be achieved unless spaces of participation in water management become more gender-responsive, through changes in existing value systems and cultures of patriarchy which shape how water institutions function and operate.

Building on the few examples of rare cases where women successfully challenged gendered norms and barriers to claim meaningful spaces in water management, we argue that rather than simply targeting women to participate in water management, we need to acknowledge and tackle structural inequities, unpack contextual social relations, cultural values, power dynamics and design interventions with strategic gender budgeting. Above all, there is a need to also focus on sensitizing men on gendered inequalities.

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