“Gender in transboundary water policies”, Tobias von Lossow (Clingendael Institute, The Netherlands)

By looking into five large transboundary river basins, this chapter analyses the extent to which programmes and policies highlight and address gender equality in transboundary water governance, and whether they are effectively implemented or remain a lip service paid with limited impact. It shows that gender at the transboundary level remains either neglected or that “checking the gender box” prevails over genuinely addressing the complexity of the gender dimension. In addition, many programmes suffer from simplistic assumptions, narrow definitions, and one-dimensional perspectives, such as equating gender with women, portraying women solely as water users and victims of bad water governance and management, or only acknowledging a gender dimension instead of addressing it. In this way, programmes and policies risk reaffirming the gender inequality that exists. This contribution shows how policymaking and project implementation consequently fail in various ways to bring the intended change, sometimes even producing contrary and harmful results. In addition, the chapter identifies key factors that have the potential to bring change and briefly outlines potential steps and entry points to more seriously addressing gender in transboundary water politics and policies.

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