Prospects and Challenges of Gender Mainstreaming in Water Sector Policies and Institutions: Case Study of the Department of Water Affairs(DWA)

Thumbnail Image
Mvula, Chizya
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
This dissertation is a study of the prospects and challenges of gender mainstreaming in water sector policies or policies that have influenced operations of the MEWD/DWA mainly the Gender Policy (2000) and the National Water Policies (1994 and 2010) and their implications for gender actions to be undertaken by the Ministry of Energy and Water Development. The actions on gender will have an implication on the composition of the ministry in terms of gender and either promote sensitivity to gender or promote gender blindness. The study also aims at assessing the institutional arrangement of the Ministry at present and how receptive the organisation is to the IWRM principle that women should be involved in the provision, management and safeguarding of water. Staff awareness and perceptions towards gender are also discussed.The study revealed that although there is some attention to gender mainstreaming in the ministry, there is lack of commitment in terms of written policy on how this is to be done. There is neither a clear strategy nor are there set benchmarks as to how progress is to be monitored. The findings of the study also indicate that the employees of the department generally were not exposed to gender sensitive practice in the workplace. The MEWD/DWA has one gender focal point person whose functions are not clear and gender is not really part of the main agenda as this person has an entirely different job description in which gender is not embedded. The staffing statistics of the DWA also indicate that the department has a rather large number of men as compared to women in the technical and management fields whilst the larger number of women is employed in administrative jobs such as typing or clerical work. This indicates that there is need to have policies that promote gender balancing if women are to be encouraged to come aboard and participate in decision¬making in the water sector.In view of the findings of this study, it is recommended that the MEWD/DWA should have an internal gender policy to guide gender action in the institution. The study also recommends a central gender-mainstreaming unit with policy responsibility to guide the overall gender mainstreaming process. There is also need for gender-sensitive budgeting, capacity building on gender-mainstreaming and the development of indicators that will guide the gender-mainstreaming process.
Gender , Water Sector Policies