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Women and water management in times of climate change: participatory and inclusive processes

Archived Content

THEME: Climate Change

TITLE: Women and water management in times of climate change: participatory and inclusive processes

AUTHOR(S): Patricia Figueiredo and Patricia E. Perkins

JOURNAL: Journal of Cleaner Production

DATE: March 7th, 2012

TAGS: Climate justice; Gender; Watershed management; Climate change; Equity; Public participation; Civil society; Women; Community-based environmental education; Civil society engagement; Resilience; Bottom-up climate change adaptation

ABSTRACT: This paper focuses on community engagement, and particularly the inclusion of women, in water management as a response to climate change. Addressing water-related problems is central to climate change adaptation, and civil society, marginalized populations and women, in particular, must be involved. This is for both moral and pragmatic reasons: not only are the marginalized the first and worst affected by extreme weather events, but they also possess local ecological, social and political knowledge which can inform and contribute significantly to climate change adaptation strategies. Because of their social roles and position worldwide, women are greatly affected by water scarcity and flooding, and tend to be gravely impacted by poor water management, yet they face great difficulties in participating effectively in governance bodies. Sustainable long-term management of water resources in the face of climate change requires the participation of women, who possess knowledge of effective social technologies for coping with and adapting to climate change. Community-based environmental education is therefore required in order to expand the equitable involvement of women in water-related climate change adaptation activities and policy development. Environmental non-governmental organizations worldwide, working on shoestring budgets at the local level, are developing a range of methods to organize, raise consciousness and confidence, and help local activists create successful climate defense programs. This paper discusses South–North initiatives and models for community-based environmental and climate change education which are using the democratic opening provided by watershed-based governance structures to broaden grassroots participation, especially of women, in political processes. We outline the activities and results of two international projects: the Sister Watersheds project, with Brazilian and Canadian partners (2002–2008); and a Climate Change Adaptation in Africa project with partners in Canada, Kenya, Mozambique, and South Africa (2010–2012).

LINKS: To view the entire publication, go to

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Figueiredo, P. and Perkins, E; 2011. “Women and water management in times of climate change: participatory and inclusive processes”