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Citation Information

Type Journal Article
Title 2.5 Investing in Women’s Participation for Enhanced Water Security: A Practitioner’s View from Sri Lanka
URL http://slwater.iwmi.org/sites/default/files/DocumentRoot/H045116.pdf
The global debate on climate change has taken on increasingly sharp concern over water security at all levels. Many
definitions of water security are currently in use. The following definition from UNEP (2009: 47) will be used as a base for
this paper: “Water security represents a unifying element supplying humanity with drinking water, hygiene and sanitation,
food and fish, industrial resources, energy, transportation and natural amenities, all dependent upon maintaining ecosystem
health and productivity.”
Within this definition, both ecosystems and social well-being are held as being equally essential, and humanity implies
the inclusion of both men and women. As such, and as with many other similar statements, it implicitly carries within it
gender neutrality. However, the reality in the water sector is that often it is not gender neutral at all; and any attempt to
enhance water security needs to be viewed within a gendered perspective, which calls for the study and incorporation
of the differential access of women and men to water resources for productive and domestic use.
In recent decades, the acceptance of participatory water management methodologies and the greater acceptance of
much needed reforms, especially in the water and sanitation sector, have led to attempts to ensure greater involvement
of stakeholders, specifically women. This paper draws from experiences of field-based advocacy by civil society and
observations of water sector initiatives mainly in Sri Lanka.

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