Gender and inclusion

'Gender and inclusion' is the underlying theme of every intervention of Protos.

Women are involved in the consultation (DR Congo) © Nick Hannes

The concept of ‘gender’ refers to the different roles, rights and responsibilities held by men and women within a specific situation or cultural context. In a broader sense, the gender-inclusion approach pays attention to any form of injustice inflicted on the underprivileged. Inclusion means ‘involving’ disadvantaged groups in the community on the basis of equal rights and duties. Within the context of Protos’ activities, this means that women and underprivileged groups must benefit from the same water rights as all other users.

In most developing countries, there is a very clear division of tasks between men and women. As a rule, women are responsible for all household tasks, including fetching water. They contribute substantially to food safety, hygiene and health, child education and the transfer of knowledge. In rural areas, the time invested in fetching water can be as high as 4 to 5 hours a day. This has an immediate impact on the means and time women dispose of for self-development, education or activities which can create revenue.

In times of water shortage, women and underprivileged groups are the first to suffer exclusion. In an approach intent on gender-inclusion, their experience and expectations are taken into account in the planning, execution and management of the programmes. Not only does the inclusion of women and the underprivileged enhance the longevity of the programmes, it is also a way to promote gender equality within organisations, communities and families.

As the first and foremost concerned group, women are in an ideal position to join in the different participatory and decision-making mechanisms involving water. When a project only addresses the men, its durability is considerably reduced..

Studies and reports:

Protos: 2013-Strategy Note 'Genre et groupes vulnérables (inclusion)'