Gender Equality Measures in WASH

Download the WASH Tip Sheet

This Tip Sheet offers interventions, guiding questions and an example of how 4 Key Gender Equality Measures (GEMs) support gender equality in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene projects and programs.   It should be read together with the GAM Overview.

The IASC GAM identifies and codes projects based on the extent to which key programming elements are consistently present in proposals and implemented projects.  Four steps (GEMs) are assessed in the design phase, and twelve GEMs are reviewed in monitoring.

Roles in collecting water, maintaining water infrastructure, using and making decisions about it change markedly depending on gender and age.  Hygiene needs and practices also vary according to gender and time of life; risk of violence is another important factor in determining water access.   Analyzing and responding to different needs, roles and dynamics improves WASH interventions so that they are more likely to be equally enjoyed by people in need.

WASH interventions can make assistance responsive and fair by:

  • Consulting affected people separately (by gender and age groups) to understand the distinct local needs, roles and dynamics of the member groups in households;
  • Designing programs to match the distinct needs;
  • Including women and men, girls and boys in appropriate age groups in the design and review of the project; and
  • Reviewing and comparing the distinct benefits for women and men, girls and boys.

Questions to inspire action:

Needs-1

Gender Mainstreaming, or a targeted action?

Some WASH interventions may target actions to address specific discrimination or gaps resulting from gender norms and expectations: these are “targeted actions” (T.)  Others will mainstream attention to gender equality by addressing the distinct needs, roles and dynamics of men and women (or girls and boys) within a broader programme (“M”.)Gender mainstreaming, or a targeted action?

For example, targeted actions would include projects focused solely on providing adolescent girls with menstrual hygiene products so that they can attend school with dignity, or projects aiming to reduce work burdens on women collecting water far from their shelters. Alternatively, a project that “mainstreams” attention to gender equality would provide latrines to all affected people, but with different designs and locations for women and men, girls and boys in different age groups; or deliver hygiene promotion messages to people in different ways depending on gender and age.

key-gem-a-1.png

Example of Good Gender Equality Programming in WASH

(GAM Code 3(M) – can you work out why? See the GAM Overview)

Using Gender Equality Measures in projects or cluster programs leads to better quality programming, responsive to gender and age issues.