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Economic globalization, sustainability, gender and water

Davidson, JL and Stratford, E ORCID: 0000-0001-6273-493X 2006 , 'Economic globalization, sustainability, gender and water', in K Lahiri-Dutt (ed.), Fluid bonds: Views on gender and water , Stree Publishers, Calcutta, pp. 29-47.

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This book recognizes the centrality of gender as an organizing principle in the ways water is
envisioned, used and managed every day at different locations and in different contexts. Gender
intersects with other factors such as race, ethnicity, and economic, social and geographical
locations. Consequently, the connections between gender and water are contingent and
heterogeneous, multifaceted and changing. As water itself is fluid, so are the social constructs of
it, shaping women and men's lives. Fluid Bonds makes gender visible in the various ways water is
dealt with, and questions how these ways affect gender and how gender affects views on water.
Through a rich offering of case studies, it identifies the multiple and changing relationships
between the two, and notes some commonalities whilst gendering the use and management of
Development experts perceive the connections between gender and water as mainly related to
poverty, raising questions of unequal access to resources, and poor sanitation leading to ill-health
of women and children. This 'othering' becomes a constant feature, leading to a perception that
the 'problems' have been sorted out in gender-wise North. The gendered realities of poverty and
water are such that no one can possibly deny them; the case studies included in Fluid Bonds
illustrate various issues: of rights, of access, of health and sanitation, of women’s invisibility in
farming and fishing, of women facing the impact of policies, of being excluded from the
sustainability agenda, of being 'given' solution from above, and also of women’s agency in
dealing with water-related issues. However, the streams of hydrofeminisms coming together in
Fluid Bonds also create a common terrain for the scholars from the North and the South to begin
a reappraisal of water as an essential and gendered substance.
Fluid Bonds brings together a group of experts representing a wide range of methodological
approaches, backgrounds and understandings on gender and water. The twenty-two chapters point
to the need of greater rights of women in determining how water is used by communities, show
how women's roles remain hidden, how their priorities are neglected, and how discourses about
gender roles and rights determine women's participation in water management. Collectively, the
contributors consider the problematic fluidity and indefinite categories of gender and water,
tracing the bonds as well as drawing out some differences, focusing on the gendered nature of
water in life, of which women and men, at all times, constitute a part. The book will be of
immediate interest to academics, development planners, administrators, educators, activists and
water experts (see over for contents).

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Davidson, JL and Stratford, E
Publisher: Stree Publishers
DOI / ID Number:
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© 2006 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2006 United Nations

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