India's Water Policies Are Gender Blind

Do water policies recognise the differential requirements and usages of water by women and the importance of adequate availability and accessibility?

In India, the responsibility of collecting and managing water to meet various household needs rests with women. In addition to household uses, women's requirement of water in their role as cultivators is the same as men but is seldom recognised by policymakers, donors, and academics.

 

Women are forced to travel long distances or stand for hours in long queues because water is not easily accessible or available in both rural and urban areas. This leaves women with much less time for other important activities such as attending school (this is especially true for young girls), childcare, farming, or other income-generating activities.

 

It is evident that equitable access to water for productive uses can empower women and also address the root causes of poverty and gender inequality. However, the lack of access to or ownership of land is a major challenge to women’s access to water and a key reason for the greater poverty of female-headed households.

 

The Indian government has framed three national water policies (NWPs) so far: in 1987, 2002, and 2012.

 

An article by Tanusree Paul in Vol 52, No 48 of the Economic and Political Weekly looks at these policies in detail.

 

Do these water policies recognise the differential requirements and usages of water by women and the importance of adequate availability and accessibility?

 

 

Click here to read the full article by Tanusree Paul.  

 

Curated by: Sohnee Harshey [sohnee@epw.in]

Design: Chaitanya Mandugula

 
 
 
 

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