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“Just Women” Is Not Enough: Towards a Gender-Relational Approach to Water and Peacebuilding

Part of the Water Security in a New World book series (WSEC)

Abstract

Gender is a topic that every large development and peacebuilding organisation mainstreams in its programming. However, often “gender” implies a focus on women. We argue that this is not enough to utilise the full potential of a meaningful and effective integration of gender in specific projects, particularly in the peacebuilding and the water sector. The aim of this chapter is therefore to develop a first gender-relational approach to water and peacebuilding that will help researchers, practitioners and policy makers to better understand and integrate the multiple dimensions of gender. To achieve this aim, we first explore the main trends in and connections between gender on the one side and peacebuilding and the water sector on the other side, before we identify key gaps and crosscutting themes. Against this background, we develop a gender-relational approach based on questions to guide the integration of gender into water and peacebuilding. Our main method is a comprehensive review of the relevant academic literature and reports by key donors, and international development and peacebuilding organisations. Further, we draw on examples from Kenya and Nepal to conclude that a gender-relational approach to water and peacebuilding needs to go beyond a focus on “just women”. There is a need to incorporate heterosexual women and men, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons (LGBTI), explore the relations within and between these groups and include other identity markers in the analysis in order to generate a nuanced understanding of complex situations, and to develop effective programming in peacebuilding and the water sector.

Keywords

  • Gender
  • Water
  • Peacebuilding
  • Approach
  • Kenya
  • Nepal

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Acknowledgements

The authors appreciate the helpful comments of the reviewers. The field research was made possible by International Alert, Universität Hamburg and the National Geographic Society. The overall work is supported by the University of Koblenz-Landau and through the Cluster of Excellence ‘Integrated Climate System Analysis and Prediction – CliSAP’, Universität Hamburg, funded by the German Science Foundation (DFG).

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Correspondence to Janpeter Schilling .

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© 2018 Springer International Publishing AG

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Schilling, J., Froese, R., Naujoks, J. (2018). “Just Women” Is Not Enough: Towards a Gender-Relational Approach to Water and Peacebuilding. In: Fröhlich, C., Gioli, G., Cremades, R., Myrttinen, H. (eds) Water Security Across the Gender Divide. Water Security in a New World. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-64046-4_9

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