Women's World Majlis
A Thirst for Equality: Addressing the Challenges in Accessing Water Resources
Sustainable water management has as many definitions as there are sources in the world. Yet, the Water Foundation tells us that proper SWM should include “using water in a way that meets current, ecological, social, and economic needs without compromising the ability to meet those needs in the future” . By 2050, there is an expected 80% increase in demand for water in cities, thus demanding sustainable and environmentally conscious water management solutions. To ensure water security, we need to build in capacity, adaptability, and resilience for the future planning and management of sustainable water resources. These initiatives must be holistic, and gender inclusive as most current water infrastructure and legislation are designed by men for men. Fewer than 50 countries have gender-inclusive laws and policies in water resource management, and just 17% of women worldwide work in water-related paid jobs. This security is necessary as we can see the multitude of water scarcity already affecting every continent. Scarcity in availability due to physical shortage, scarcity in access due to the failure of institutions that ensure a regular supply, and scarcity due to a lack of adequate infrastructure. If we are to keep up with projected reports of increased water use, especially in regions that are already reaching their limits in water services, then we must include the female-abled workforce in every department. The World Bank has also reported that involving women in water governance can make water programmes up to seven times more efficient. But, how can we work together to make the change, today? How can women contribute to, benefit from, and make decisions in water resources management and governance? What does sustainable water management look like regionally and globally? Are these efforts environmentally conscious? What positive spillover effects does society have when women have adequate and equal access to water facilities and supplies?