Working towards a more inclusive, gender equal world

SCELG PhD Stephanie Hawkins at the International Water Management Institute

In celebration of International Woman’s Day 2017, researchers at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) were asked to share their thoughts on what they think is important for a more inclusive, gender equal world.

Gender in transboundary groundwater governance

As part of her internship in the IWMI Southern African office, SCELG PhD researcher Stephanie Hawkins gives a snapshot of what she's currently working on, and why a focus on gender is important in water governance:

"As an intern in the South Africa office of IWMI, I am working on issues of social inclusiveness and gender responsiveness in transboundary groundwater governance. Since transboundary arrangements can influence gendered livelihoods and wellbeing on the local level, a gendered approach to reading law and policy on all levels is important. The failure to address gender in transboundary groundwater governance can jeopardize water security and livelihood options for small communities in the border regions, enhancing risks to social cohesions, livelihoods and wellbeing. However, such an approach requires bold persistence, as despite its importance, gender considerations are often sidelined, and are almost invisible in transboundary arrangements.

Women are already important water managers, and it is therefore important to inspire and engage more women and girls to become leaders in decision-making that affects water equity.

To accelerate the achievement of gender equality in water and land management, IWMI must continue emphasizing the importance of inclusive and representative decision making at all levels, from local to transboundary, in striving for a gender-equal world."

Practice-led Research

Stephanie Hawkins is a PhD candidate at the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance. Her research explores how attention to the concepts of social and environmental justice can help assess and inform legal and policy frameworks for transboundary aquifer governance.