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My Research

October 2013 – October 2016 (expected end date)

Research Aims:

My research aims to analyze the main gender inequality issues in the access to and control of water as a productive resource for agriculture and food security. The main purpose is to highlight persisting and emerging challenges in relation to women’s access to and decision-making on water resources; assess the response of the international community (with particular attention to FAO’s role); and identify the main achievements and gaps in promoting gender equality in water governance for food security.

I will critically examine gender issues in water governance at various levels:

  • International frameworks, commitments, policies and approaches (e.g. MDGs, International Water Resource Management framework, SDGs)
  • Regional frameworks and strategies
  • National water policies, strategies and governance mechanisms
  • Local institutions and user-based associations (e.g. Water Users’ Associations; River Basin Organizations, etc.), in terms of their capacity and commitment to address gender issues in the water sector.

In line with the CSW’s review for Beijing +20, the analysis will provide a historical overview of the global level, discussing how debates and approaches around gender, water governance and food security have evolved from the adoption of the Beijing Platform of Action in 1995.

I will proceed by reviewing the work of the international community (with particular attention to FAO’s experience) and national governments in addressing gender inequalities in water governance for agriculture and food security, focusing on three regions: Near and Middle East, Southern Africa and South Asia.

For each region, my thesis will present (providing country-specific information):

  • Specific gender issues related to water governance for agriculture and food security at regional, national and local level;
  • Achievements, lessons learned and good practicesin ensuring women’s access to water as a productive resource, and in fostering their equal participation in water governance systems
  • Remaining and emerging gaps
  • Specific actionable recommendations for countries/regions, at both policy and technical levels, to reduce existing inequalities, and promote gender-responsive and effective water governance systems, policies and strategies.

On the basis of the analysis, I will highlight FAO’s comparative advantage and priority areas for action to fill existing gaps and make progress towards the achievement of FAO’s Gender Equality Objective 2, which specifically aims to ensure women’s equal access to all productive resources, including water.


The Consultant will conduct a thorough literature review on gender and water governance in the context of agriculture and food security. I will review available secondary information on policies, programmes and approaches implemented by national governments, FAO and other development actors in the period and regions interested by the study.

A list of resource persons will be provided by FAO to conduct interviews and to collect primary information on FAO’s work on gender, water and food security in different regions and countries.

Main Supervisor:

Caroline Wright



Carol Wolkowitz



Online Resources