Summer Course – Diverting the Flow: Questions of Gender in Water

IHE Delft

Target Audience

Summer courses at IHE Delft are for advanced students and professionals in the water and related sectors.


How is the use, management, governance and knowledge of water services, resources and the watery environment gendered?

International and national water policy statements frequently make explicit reference to the crucial importance of women as users, guardians and managers of water. Development policies refer to women as the ‘local experts’ on water, soils, forests and seeds, or characterize them as particularly vulnerable to droughts and floods. In spite of the proclaimed centrality of women in water, most rights to land and water continue to be vested in men. Formal water decision-making bodies are typically dominated by men, while most water managers and experts are also men.

The summer course teaches students to recognize how the use, management and knowledge of water are gendered. The course proposes and discusses different tools and concepts to identify and explain this ‘genderedness’ and to understand its implications for equity, sustainability and efficiency. It presents different theoretical frameworks (gender and environment, feminist political ecology, eco-feminism) for analysing gender and water linkages, discussing these based on cases from different countries. The course also critically examines gendered assumptions of current water policy approaches and provides an introduction to gender sensitive planning methods in watershed, water supply and irrigation management projects.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
– understand how the use, management and knowledge of water resources, services and the watery environment are deeply gendered;
– demonstrate knowledge of concepts and methods for analysing gendered implications of different water engineering, management and governance interventions or models;
– identify and discuss the trade-offs and synergies between the terms sustainability, efficiency and gender equity in water resources or water services management;
– display knowledge of approaches and frameworks for more gender sensitive or transformative water management and environmental planning processes.