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Key Web Sites
Capacity Building for Integrated Water Resources Management (Cap-Net):

Cap-Net is an international network for capacity building in IWRM. It is made up of a partnership of autonomous international, regional and national institutions and networks committed to capacity building in the water sector.
The Gender and Water Alliance (GWA):

The Capacity building program of the Gender and Water Alliance was organised to develop and implement new tailored and improved methodologies, tools and materials for training and capacity building.
Global Environment Monitoring System (GEMS):

Global Environment Monitoring System provides a modular approach to training in monitoring and water quality management. A training guide describes a series of courses that are offered through the GEMS Water Programme and our partners. The training programme is oriented toward assisting developing countries in setting up basic capabilities for water resources management or in modernizing existing programmes.
World Bank Capacity Building Activities (WB):

Capacity building is central to the World Bank's support in the water supply and sanitation (WSS) sector. The World Bank’s support to countries follows a learning-by-doing approach that combines capacity building, reforms, and investments. World Bank capacity building activities are targeted mainly at clients of the World Bank, i.e., policy makers and government officials. However, partners of the World Bank - such as development experts, media representatives, and representatives of bilateral and multilateral organizations, staff of nongovernmental organizations, and others - can also participate in many of the Bank’s learning programs,,contentMDK:20262460~menuPK:533815~pagePK:148956~piPK:216618~theSitePK:337302,00.html

Case studies (check website
Gender and Capacity Building, and Gender and Environment in Brazil
South Africa: Women in Sanitation and Brick Making Project, Mabule Village
Pakistan: Initiative of One, Relief for All – Women’s Leadership in the Banda Golra Water Supply Scheme

3.13. Gender Planning and Tools in Water Sectors


A framework for gender analysis shows how to carry out such an analysis step-by-step, helping to raise questions, analyse information, and develop strategies and policies that bring in the realities of both women and men. A gender analysis framework assists in analysing the different roles and responsibilities of women and men and the difference in their access to and control over resources. The analysis assists planners and decision-makers to understand how policies and programmes can be changed to encourage equal involvement of women and men and to ensure that they address gender equality. Furthermore, it can clarify why some programmes, projects and policies have a negative impact on women. Gender should be mainstreamed from the earliest possible point in the programme or project cycle, as it can fundamentally affect the entire programme or project concept and implementation.

A gender analysis should inform the entire policy and programme making process. A gender-sensitive approach is not one isolated activity, carried out at one point in plan development. A gender-sensitive approach usually starts with a clear policy statement which defines the goals of gender planning; thereafter, it needs to be incorporated throughout the planning, implementation, and evaluation processes.
Gender Planning

Gender Planning refers to the process of planning development programmes and projects to make them gender sensitive, taking into account the impact on various gender relations, roles and needs and on different women and men involved. It involves the selection of appropriate approaches to address not only women and men’s practical needs, but also identifies entry points for challenging unequal relations and strategic needs.6

Mainstreaming gender in planning, implementation, and evaluation of programmes and projects is not only meant to involve both women and men in the project, but also to ensure their active participation throughout the planning, implementation, and evaluation stages. Women and men should gain equally as participants and beneficiaries of the programmes. Moreover, this process leads to an increase in the efficiency and sustainability of the programmes and enables monitoring of related goals to empower women and promote gender equality.
Excluding women from the project or programme design may have adverse effects. For example, in Nepal, the lack of consideration of women’s needs in project planning resulted in inadvertently increasing women’s burdens. In all the communities involved in the study, women complained that their water collection time significantly increased (nearly four or five times) after they received the improved water services. This is because the tap-stands and the tube wells were located along the roadside, where women were unable to bathe and wash clothes freely, without being seen by male passers-by. In order to avoid this, women in Hile village in east Nepal carry water all the way to their homes several times each day, spending significant amounts of time on this activity. In three villages, women reported waiting until dark to bathe and wash clothes. The women complained that the surveyors had not involved them in the design or location of the tap-stands or tube wells.7
Gender planning tools and methodologies such as gender analysis, social mapping and sex-disaggregated data, are tools that enable the analysis of whether the interventions have responded to the different needs of women and men or not. The objective of using gender analytic tools in planning is not only to increase the success of programmes and projects by fitting them more closely to women’s and men’s current needs, but also to improve women’s status and increase their participation in decision-making at different levels.
Key actors in the Sector

Planning takes place at different levels of government ministries and agencies, in international organisations, in private companies, NGOs, women’s groups, and in individual households. All these actors are key to the overall planning process. It is important to pay attention to diversity, which includes men and women, as well as different age groups, classes, castes, ethnicities, etc. Some marginalised groups can be left out of interventions if specific efforts are not make to reach them.

Planners attempt to develop national, regional and district plans, programmes and projects that are compatible with the goals, strategies and policies set by policy makers. Planners may be economists, managers, social scientists or technical specialists employed in the planning units of the ministry or its various agencies or in national or international NGOs and organisations. Successful programmes have taken into consideration all stakeholders' needs and interests and have used a participatory approach and gender planning in the programme’s activities.
Planning Tools for Gender Mainstreaming in Water Sectors

Paying attention to gender relations and using gender-sensitive tools for planning can contribute to better project planning and management, and can increase the success of water programmes and projects. Attention to gender is particularly valid for water sectors, because women and men have very different responsibilities, access to and control over water resources.

Tools such as gender analysis for a particular project or programme area can increase understanding of the socio-economic and cultural context of the programme, including the interests and needs of women and men and their different priorities, knowledge, attitudes and practices related to water services. For example, introducing the ‘user-pay’ system for water services may result in a significant burden for women, as they usually have the main responsibility for providing water, but not the main income. Also, women may receive training, but may be prevented from putting their new skills and knowledge into practice by cultural or social factors.
Social mapping is a tool that can provide information about the community regarding its composition, resources available, activities, access and use of the water resources. Mapping can help identify who has access, use and control over water resources by gender, class and ethnic group, for example. Such a tool can increase the input of the community since they are the experts on the local situation. It is an excellent tool for collecting sex-disaggregated data that indicate preferences for water source, location and design of facilities and cultural preferences related to sanitation. Social mapping as an exploratory and planning tool can be used by the project staff to highlight inequalities and gaps in accessing water resources at the community level as well as to assess the impact of interventions at the community level. It is an excellent way to engage the community, both women and men, in the project.
Sex-disaggregated data is extremely useful as a tool, but not sufficient in itself. While it is recognised that gender concerns need to be mainstreamed into national statistics, the categories of data collection need to be examined to ensure they reflect the realities of women’s and men’s lives and relations. There is a need to create indicators to reflect more accurately women’s unpaid labour and work in the informal sector, for example. Standard official statistics have tended to ignore such measures, underestimating women’s economic contributions.8
Related to the issue of sex-disaggregated data is the question of gender-sensitive indicators, which enable the monitoring of change and the measurement of benefits to women and men of given policies or programmes. For instance, gender-sensitive indicators can measure the impact and the effectiveness of activities targeted to address women’s or men’s practical needs.
The histogram is yet another tool, which allows getting an overview of the situation in the community and identifying important historical events within the community that may have affected water resource management and poverty. It can also assist communities in analysing factors that have an impact on their present problems. The histogram tool is different from a trend analysis, as it covers several events (political, economic, and social changes or natural disasters) that have occurred in the past in the community. It is useful to understand the dynamics of natural and social changes over time that may explain factors influencing current problems within the community. Such a tool requires the participation of all members in the community, particularly older women and men.
A pocket chart allows the researcher to collect qualitative socio-economic and sex-disaggregated data and quantify them at an individual and community level. In addition, it helps identify and assess not only the needs and priorities for men and women, but also the benefits and the changes in representation and leadership positions.
Welfare ranking can be used to help communities carry out their own socio-economic classification system. It can elicit the community’s own indicators of relative well-being (such as education, food, water, health, status, assets, infrastructure and employment). It is a good tool for the communities’ self-assessment and identification of the approximate percentage of different levels of socio-economic groups. This tool is useful to monitor whether poor women and men continue to have a voice in decision-making and access to water resources.
Gender-sensitive approaches and tools for planning in water sectors are important to achieving efficiency, social equity and gender-equality goals. Targets, such as those contained in the Millennium Development Goals for water and sanitation, are unlikely to be achieved unless gender perspectives are integrated into planning, implementation and monitoring activities.
Guidelines, handbooks, and “tool kits” exist to help planners integrate gender concerns at every stage of development activities. These useful resources combine general concepts, techniques, tools and models to facilitate gender equitable approaches in planning.

Chandra Regmi, Shibesh and Ben Fawcett, 1999. “Integrating gender needs into drinking water projects in Nepal”, Gender and Development, 7(3).
Gender and Development Training Centre, Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV), 2000. Manual for the Participatory Gender Audit. Haarlem, the Netherlands.

March, C. et al., 1999. Key Concepts: A Guide to Gender Analysis Frameworks. Oxford: Oxfam.

Moser, C, 1993. Gender Planning and Development: Theory, Practice and Training. London: Routledge,
Oxaal, Zoë and Sally Baden, 1997. Gender and Empowerment: Definitions, Approaches and Implications for Policy. Briefing paper prepared for the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), BRIDGE, Institute of Development Studies, Report no. 40. University of Sussex, Brighton, UK. Available at:

Watch, H. and Hazel Reeves, 2000. Gender and Development: Facts and Figures, Report No.56. Bridge, Institute of Development Studies, UK.

Additional Resources
Aguilar, Lorena, 1999. A Good Start Makes a Better Ending: Writing proposals with a

Gender Perspective. Towards Equity Series, No.1. World Conservation Union and

Arias Foundation, San José.

The author proposes a series of preconditions that contribute to the design of a project proposal containing the basic ingredients needed to facilitate the incorporation of a gender equity perspective.

Available at:

Aguilar, Lorena, Gustavo Briceño, and Ilsie Valenciano, 2000. Seek and Ye Shall Find:

Participatory Appraisals with a Gender Equity Perspective, Towards Equity Series,

No.2. World Conservation Union and Arias Foundation, San José.

KIT/Oxfam, (2002). Natural Resources Management and Gender: A Global Source Book. (Critical reviews and annotated bibliographies series)

The book reflects experiences with mainstreaming gender and natural resources management. It examines diverse natural resources from different perspectives including security of women’s rights to common property resources and land (West Africa), mainstreaming gender in water policy and institutions (India), gender responsive planning in wetland development (Uganda), empowering women in natural resource management (Pakistan) and development of gender policies for environmental policies (Mesoamerica). The chapters are complemented by an extensive annotated bibliography comprising books, journals, electronic documents and Web resources.

Available at: KIT (Royal Tropical Institute), P.O. Box 95001, 1090 HA Amsterdam, the Netherlands, E-mail:, Website:
Alfaro, María Cecilia, 1999. Unveiling Gender: Basic Conceptual Elements for Understanding Equity, World Conservation Union and Arias Foundation, San José.

Alfaro Quesada, Cecilia, 2002. If We Organize It We Can Do It: Project Planning with a Gender Perspective. Towards Equity Series, No.3. World Conservation Union and

Arias Foundation, San José.
Atthill, Catherine, no date. Toolkit: An Integrated Resource for Implementing the Gender Management System Series. London: Commonwealth Secretariat.

The Gender Management System (GMS) is a holistic approach to gender mainstreaming developed by the Commonwealth Secretariat. It aims to bring about fundamental and lasting change in society as a whole by transforming the structures that create and perpetuate gender inequality. It starts with organisational change in government, institutions, civil society, the private sector and international governmental organisations. The aim of the GMS Toolkit is to help people responsible for gender mainstreaming, to enable them to put the Gender Management System Series of manuals into practice and provide a range of tools to make the manuals more accessible.

AusAID Guide to Gender and Development Water Supply and Sanitation, 2000. Gender guidelines water supply and sanitation supplement to the guide to gender and development, AusAID, (updated April 2005). Available at:
Beck, Tony, 1999. A Quick Guide to Using Gender-Sensitive Indicators. London: Commonwealth Secretariat.

This guide is designed to assist the user in the selection, use and dissemination of gender sensitive indicators at the national level. It should be of particular use to governments that are establishing and using a Gender Management System and/or developing a national data base on gender-sensitive indicators as well as NGOs, women’s groups, professional associations, the academic community and others interested in promoting gender equality.

Available at:
Beck, Tony, no date. Using Gender- Sensitive Indicators: A Reference Manual for Governments and Other Stake holders. London: Commonwealth Secretariat.

This reference manual is part of the Gender Management System (GMS) Series, which provides tools and sector-specific guidelines for gender mainstreaming. This manual is intended to be used in combination with the other documents in the series, particularly the Gender Management System Handbook, which presents the conceptual and methodological framework of the GMS. This reference manual has been produced to assist member governments in meeting their commitment to implementing the Plan of Action. It is designed to assist the users in the selection, use and dissemination of gender-sensitive indicators at the national level.

Brambilla, Paola, 2001. Gender and Monitoring: A Review of Practical Experiences, Paper prepared for the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation (SDC). BRIDGE, Institute of Development Studies University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9RE, UK.

This report aims to provide a practical tool that can be used to integrate a gender approach into existing monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. This paper looks at how indicators can be made gender-sensitive, who should be involved in this process, and when during the project cycle. Case studies follow of implementation of such approaches at field level (projects and programmes), institutional and government level.

Available at:
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), 1997. Guide to Gender-Sensitive Indicators.

This Guide explains why gender-sensitive indicators are useful tools for measuring the results of CIDA's development initiatives. It concentrates in particular on projects with an end-user focus, and shows how gender-sensitive indicators can and should be used in both gender integrated and WID-specific projects, and in combination with other evaluation techniques.

The key questions addressed here are: What are gender-sensitive indicators? Why should CIDA use them? What are the types of such indicators? What are their limitations? How can they be used at the branch and region/country levels and in particular in projects with an end-user focus?

A companion volume, A Project level Handbook is available as a quick reference guide for people working in the development field.

Available at:$file/WID-HAND-E.pdf$file/WID-GUID-E.pdf

Dayal, R, C.A. van Wijk-Sijbesma, and N. Mukherjee, 2000. METGUIDE: Methodology for Participatory Assessments with Communities, Institutions and Policy Makers: Linking Sustainability with Demand, Gender and Poverty. (UNDP-World Bank, Water and Sanitation Programme).

Derbyshire, Helen, 2000. Gender Manual: A Practical Guide for Development Policy Makers and Practitioners. London: DFID.

This gender manual is designed to help non-gender specialists in recognising and addressing gender issues in their work. The intention is to demystify gender, make the concept and practice of gender mainstreaming accessible to a wide audience, and clarify when to call in specialist help. The manual focuses on the processes of gender mainstreaming which are similar in all sectoral and regional contexts, and also similar, in some instances, to other processes of social development and organisational change.

Available at:
Direction Générale de l’Inventaire des Ressources Hydrauliques (Ouagadougou- Burkina Faso), 2005. Implication de la femme dans la mise en œuvre du Plan d’Action pour la Gestion Intégrée des Ressources en Eau (PAGIRE). Available at:
Fong, M.S., W. Wakeman and A. Bhushan, 1996. Working on Gender in Water and Sanitation: Gender Toolkit Series No. 2. (UNDP-World Bank, WSP). Available at:
Gender and Development Training Centre, Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV), 2000. Manual for the Participatory Gender Audit. Haarlem, the Netherlands.

This manual, developed by Dutch NGO SNV (Netherlands Development Organisation), contains tools to carry out participatory gender audits of the organisation's programmes. It is a self-assessment methodology aiming at improving the organisation's performance with respect to gender equality and women's empowerment.

Available at:
Gender and Water Alliance (GWA), 2003. Training of Trainers Package: Gender Mainstreaming in Integrated Water Resource Management. Available at:
GWA, no date. Gender Scan.

Gender Scan is a new tool that is a starting point for organizations implementing an internal change or strategic planning process or both, with regard to gender mainstreaming. It offers a step-by-step approach for an institutional self-assessment and includes a case study of its application.

Available at:
Gezellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), 1998. Gender Training ToolKit, German Technical Cooperation Self-help Fund Project.

This toolkit provides guidelines for participatory gender sensitization training, outlining key concepts in raising gender awareness. The premise upon which the guidelines are based is experiential learning. The toolkit incorporates different techniques, exercises, and games, often utilizing handouts, and prompts people to learn by analyzing and reflecting on their experience. It includes tools for gender sensitization, and for gender sensitive project planning.

National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women and the Canadian International

Development Agency, 2002. A Guidebook on Gender Mainstreaming. How Far Have We Gone?

This guidebook is aimed primarily to help the agencies' Gender and Development (GAD) Focal Points, members of their technical working groups and other related GAD committees do their mainstreaming work. It presents the gender mainstreaming evaluation framework (GMEF) which can be used to track their progress and provides them with a holistic view of the gender mainstreaming process. It is also useful to technical people (e.g. planners, monitors, evaluators and analysts) who have a basic knowledge of GAD concepts.

Available at:

Rathgeber, Eva M., no date.Water Management in Africa and the Middle East: Challenges and Opportunities”, in Women, Men, and Water-Resource Management in Africa, IDRC.

This paper examines some of the concerns that have motivated African governments and donors to become involved with water projects. Although there is general recognition of the needs of communities for reliable water systems, it is argued that the different attitudes, perspectives, and needs of women and men with respect to water access and use have been given little focused attention by environmental planners and water-resource managers in Africa. More specifically, it is suggested that throughout the 1970s and 1980s, although concerted efforts were being made to increase water accessibility, little effort was made to integrate the economic roles of women into water-resource planning.

Available at: OR
Rocheleau, D., B. Thomas-Slayter and D. Edmunds, 1995. “Gendered Resource Mapping: Focusing on Women's Spaces in the Landscape”, Cultural Survival Quarterly, 18(4).
Rodríguez, Guiselle et al, 1999. Taking the Pulse of Gender: Gender-sensitive Systems for Monitoring and Appraisal, World Conservation Union and Arias Foundation, San José.
Rodríguez Villalobos, Rocío, 1999. Module 8: Sharing Secrets: Systematization from a Gender Perspective, World Conservation Union and Arias Foundation, San José.
UNDP, 2003. Mainstreaming Gender in Water Management: A Practical Journey to Sustainability.

This extensive guide includes a useful section on gender mainstreaming within the Project Cycle.

Available at:
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), 1997. UNEP Project Manual: Formulation, Approval, Monitoring and Evaluation. UNEP, Nairobi.
Southern African Development Community (SADC), 1999. Gender Mainstreaming at SADC: Policies, Plans and Activities.

The gender plans, activities and policies in the region are outlined and the steps which have been taken by the various governments to establish institutional frameworks for gender mainstreaming.

Available from: SADC Gender Department, Private Bag 0095, Gaborone, Botswana,
Thomas, Helen, Johanna Schalkwyk and Beth Woronuik, 1996. A gender perspective in the water resources management sector: Handbook for mainstreaming. Publications on Water Resources, No. 6 (Stockholm, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency).

This handbook for mainstreaming contains specified questions to be asked at each stage of the project cycle which cover issues ranging from how consultation is designed, how specific indicators of gendered involvement are used, to whether budgets are allocated to ensure gender-equitable approaches. Such resources are to be welcomed although it should be emphasised that they will only be practical if used in a self-critical, reflective manner, adapted to specific contexts rather than utilised as routine checklists.

Available at:
Thomas-Slayter, Barbara, Xavier Rachel Polestico, Andrea Esser, Octavia Taylor; and Elvina Mutua, 1995. Manual for Socio-Economic and Gender Analysis: Responding to the

Development Challenge. Tototo Home Industries, Kenya, the Philippines University.

This manual is based on the socio-economic and gender analysis (SEGA) approach, which is an approach to development based on an analysis of the socio-economic factors and participatory identification of women’s and men’s priorities and potentials. SEGA aims to sensitize practitioners to visualize the interconnected processes of environment, social and economic change and to clarify the relevance of social factors (such as class, caste, gender, age, ethnicity and religion) in determining access to and control over resources. Such an understanding of the relationships among people, social structures, and resource bases, makes it easier to work with communities to change the conditions that hinder their development.

Available (at a price) from: Clark University, IDCE Graduate Program 950, Main Street,

Worcester, MA 01610, Tel: 508-793-7201, Fax: 508-793-8820, Email:

Available at:
Tortajada, Cecilia, 2002. Contribution of Women to the Planning and Management of

Water Resources in Latin America. Research Report.

Available at:

Wilde V. and Vaino-Mattila A, 1996. Gender Analysis and Forestry Training, Rome, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

A complete training package, based on experience in Asia, with overview of importance of gender analysis; guidelines on planning and conducting training programmes; using RRA to develop case studies; training notes and materials, including case studies; lessons learned from the testing process. Practical and thorough - helpful for people with little training experience or to give ideas of where to start.

Available at: INTGENDER/Resources/Toolkitgenderagri.pdf

Spanish resources
IDRC, CIED PERU, 2002. Perspectiva de Género y Rol de la Mujer en la gestión de los recursos Hídricos en el Altiplano.

Presenta diferentes experiencias sobre conceptos, metodologías y actividades que permiten la implementación de los proyectos de agua y saneamiento y de riego en las zonas andinas de Latinoamérica, resaltando las experiencias exitosas en la búsqueda de incorporar la perspectiva de género.

Disponible en:
GWA, WSP, 2005. Construyendo una Visión para la Acción. Avances y desafios de la transversalización del Enfoque de Género en la Gestión Integrada de los recursos Hidricos en America latina. Bolivia.

Ofrece recomendaciones importantes para la construcción de una visión común en América Latina sobre la transversalización del enfoque de género en la gestión integrada de los recursos hídricos, visión que puede servir como un conjunto de lineamientos orientadores para las instituciones y organizaciones interesadas en contribuir a la construcción de una sociedad más justa, donde hombres y mujeres gocen del beneficio de una mejor calidad de vida.

Disponible en:
Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID), 2003. Plan de Acción del BID para la integración de Género (Marzo 2003 - Junio 2005), Preparado por SDS/WID en colaboración con la Red de Género del Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID) Departamento de Desarrollo Sostenible Unidad de la Mujer en el Desarrollo Washington, D.C.
The Action Plan brings together the commitments of all operations divisions and relevant departments of the Bank in the development of actions that aim to improve equality between men and women. The likelihood of success implementing this Plan is high because it represents a collaborative agreement and shared commitment between different members of the institution, including the high levels of the Administration, professional staff and assistants involved in the design, supervision, monitoring and evaluation of operations supported by the Bank.

Disponible en:

FAO, no date. Participación y Género en la Planificación del Desarrollo Agrícola. preparado por Jeanne Koopman, Consultora, Servicio de la Mujer en el Desarrollo (SDWW), Dirección de la Mujer y la Población de la FAO.

Disponible en:

FAO, no date. Oficina Regional para America Latina y El Caribe. La mujer en el desarrollo rural, various resources.

Disponible en:

French Resources
Direction Générale de l’Inventaire des Ressources Hydrauliques, Ouagadougou, 2005. Implication de la femme dans la mise en œuvre du Plan d’Action pour la Gestion Intégrée des Ressources en Eau (PAGIRE).

Le présent document constitue une source d’inspiration pour les acteurs opérant dans la gestion des ressources en eau.

Disponible au:

Case studies (check website
Water for African Cities: A Partnership between United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) and the Gender and Water Alliance (GWA)
Uganda: Mainstreaming Gender into Policy: Examining Uganda’s Gender Water Strategy

3.14. Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Water Sectors


Innumerable conventions, declarations, plans of action, and commitments have been made for women’s empowerment, for equality between women and men, for the cultural and economic rights of women and men, for the human rights of women and men, and for equality and equity in access to resources and in decision making power. Over the last 30 years, the water sectors have also made many such commitments.

While gender equality incorporating an intersectional analysis in water institutions and policies is beginning to take place, it has been slow. Furthermore, the implementation of these new inclusive and equitable policies of the last 10 to 20 years has been constrained by a range of factors - from the lack of political will and commitment, to the lack of an integrated approach to water resources management, to continued cultural, economic and political discrimination against women and girls.
Gender Responsive Budget Initiatives (GRBIs) provide concrete tools for putting conventions, policies, and commitments into practice.
GRBIs were developed in recognition of the gender blindness of macro-economic policies and budgets.9 The first gender-responsive budget was introduced in Australia in 1984. Macro-economic policies and budgets do not recognise women’s unpaid labour and thus do not recognise or value the different contributions of women to the national economy as compared to men’s contributions. The national budget is the key document to any country’s development priorities. If a government’s national budget is not gender-sensitive, it is most likely missing women’s roles and contributions to national development efforts and thus not serving women’s needs and priorities. Women and men in all countries have different roles and responsibilities and often unequal access and control over resources and decision making; thus, budgets affect them differently.
Gender-Responsive Budget Initiatives

Gender-Responsive Budget Initiatives (GRBIs) analyse policies, taxation, revenues, expenditures, and deficits from a gender perspective. They are tools that make it possible to analyze budgets to assess whether government policies and programmes will have different and unequal impacts on women and men and girls and boys. GRBIs are not about separate budgets for women and men. They involve a gender-sensitive analysis of budget priorities. The exercise enables an analysis of budgets rather than the formulation of budgets. This analysis can then constitute the basis for formulation of budget amendments. Additionally, the analysis does not focus only on that portion of a budget seen as pertaining to gender issues or women. A full gender budget analysis examines all sectoral allocations of governments for their differential impacts on women, men, girls and boys. They can go further and look at the sub-groups of the gender-age groupings (Budlender, 2000:1366).

While a change in the government budget is the ultimate objective of most GRBIs, many other gains can be made along the way. In particular, GRBIs are ways of enhancing democracy by enabling public participation and transparency in finance and decision making and improving governance. GRBIs allow government departments, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders to improve accountability and targeting of services, ensure that ministries and municipalities respond to their constituencies’ needs and priorities, ensure that policies are being implemented with the relevant budgetary allocations and assist in implementing government commitments to international conventions (Khosla, 2003:5).
Gender-Responsive Budgets in the Water Sectors

Putting water on the agenda for gender budget analysis can foster a sustainable and integrated water resources development and management approach as it also involves a multi-sectoral stakeholder approach to budget analysis. The call for GRBIs has been fuelled by the growing frustration with the slow response of senior decision makers and implementing agencies to address poor women’s needs and gender inequity in the water sectors. The Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP) in its pro-poor and gender-sensitive analysis of Tanzania’s National Budget (2003-2004) eloquently affirms the need for GRBIs. According to the TGNP, national budgets provide the truest indication of state priorities. The process of allocating scarce resources reveals the Government’s highest priorities and identifies their favoured constituents when decision-makers are forced to choose among the policy priorities. Whereas policies and budget guidelines provide standards and set the direction of goals, budgets actually demonstrate political will.10

Key Actors in the Sector: Who can do GRBIs?

Different levels of government and their relevant ministries and departments along with women’s groups and other civil society partners are key actors in gender-responsive budget initiatives. In countries where GRBIs are active and have been the most successful, the exercise was led and coordinated by the relevant ministry, a women’s agency or NGO and/or a research centre or university. For case studies on GRBIs see the books produced by the Commonwealth Secretariat.11 These are not case studies about the water sectors, but a range of other sectors and levels of government where gender budget analysis was undertaken.

GRBIs for Gender Mainstreaming the Sector

GRBI tools such as the gender-disaggregated beneficiary assessment can assess current water and sanitation public services and their relationship to existing budgetary allocations. In cases of water privatization, it could also assist in analyzing the implications of pricing policies and their relationship to women’s and men’s incomes and access to public services. It can also demonstrate the need for budgetary reallocations for the provision of water services to those who do not have them or are under-serviced. Such an exercise will highlight the lack of services or under servicing of poor women and men, female-headed households, women without title to land, women and men with small land holdings, etc.

Disaggregated analysis of the impact of the budget on time use is a tool that can demonstrate how the time taken by women to undertake certain tasks that would normally be provided by the state are in fact a subsidy to the state. For example, women generally fill in shortcomings in services by investing more of their time to ensure that the basic needs of families and children are met. In cases where water becomes inaccessible, women spend longer hours in collecting water from more distant water sources, revert to water recycling and conservation methods, and invest more of their time towards meeting basic household needs. If calculated in monetary terms, the value of women’s time amounts to a considerable subsidy to a service that the state should primarily be responsible for providing.
Gender disaggregated public expenditure benefit incidence analysis is yet another useful tool. As privatization of water usually excludes water and sanitation infrastructure, which is mainly left for government investment and loans, a beneficiary analysis of government expenditure would demonstrate the bias in government spending towards the rich. The rich consume more quantities of water for golf courses, swimming pools, and industry infrastructure, as compared to poor women who consume less water due to their different needs and their inability to pay for water.
Disaggregated tax incidence analysis enables the examination of taxation policies at the market and household levels. At the household level, women’s unpaid work in water provision and management constitutes both a social and economic tax. Even within a privatized water management context, sanitation mostly remains a government responsibility that uses revenues to finance these investments. In the market context, women in the informal sector and as owners of small enterprises pay taxes, regardless of whether water infrastructure is meeting their needs.
Few GRBIs have specifically focused on the many dimensions of the water sectors. For example, gender-responsive budgeting could be used for provision of water and sanitation services, equitable access to water for irrigation, or integrated water resources management (IWRM). GRBIs in South Africa have raised the issue of the lack of water services provision for many poor women in rural areas, along with the general lack of other basic services such as electricity. More recently, in Tanzania, the TGNP has demonstrated the usefulness of GRBIs in the analysis of the budget of the Ministry of Water and Livestock.12 The effectiveness of GRBI in areas such as gender violence and policing, agriculture, health services, education, taxation, pensions, food subsidy policies, and land distribution demonstrates its value for IWRM.
Budlender, Debbie, 2000. “The Political Economy of Women’s Budgets in the South”, World Development, 28(7). pp 1365-1378.
Elson, Diane, 2002. Gender Responsive Budget Initiatives: Some Key Dimensions and Practical Examples. Paper presented at the conference on “Gender Budgets, Financial Markets, Financing for Development”, February 19th and 20th 2002, by the Heinrich-Böll Foundation, Berlin. Available at:
Elson, Diane, 2002. “Integrating Gender into Government Budgets with a Context of Economic Reform”, in Debbie Budlender, Diane Elson, Guy Hewitt and Tanni Mukhopadhyay, Gender Budgets Make Cents: Understanding Gender-Responsive Budgets. London: Commonwealth Secretariat.
Khosla, Prabha, 2003. Water, Equity, and Money: The need for gender-responsive budgeting in water and sanitation. The Netherlands Council of Women.

Available at:

Additional Resources
ACFODE, 2005. Gender Budget Training Manual. Kampala, Uganda.

The following is a Gender Budget Training Manual created by ACFODE of Uganda to guide trainers who are involved in building capacities of policy makers and other stakeholders at District and Sub-county levels in Gender Budgeting. The overall objective is to ensure that Plans and Budgets at Districts and Sub-counties address the needs of disadvantaged groups, especially women.

Available at:
Coopoo, Sikhander. No date. Women and Local Government Revenue. Idasa, South Africa.

Available at:

Budlender, Debbie, 2004.Budgeting to Fulfill International Gender and Human Rights Commitments. UNIFEM.

Available at:

Budlender, Debbie. and Guy Hewitt, 2003. Engendering Budgets: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Implementing Gender-Responsive Budgets. London: The Commonwealth Foundation.

The gender responsive budget programme is now a well-established initiative from the Commonwealth Secretariat, attracting considerable interest among governments, civil society and development agencies keen to participate in the programme. Work on gender responsive budget initiatives has already taken place in over twenty Commonwealth countries. This sourcebook will be of particular use to practitioners, researchers, government officials and NGOs.

Available at:
Budlender, Debbie, Diane Elson, Guy Hewitt and Tanni Mukhopadhyay, 2002. Gender Budgets Make Cents: Understanding Gender-Responsive Budgets. London: Commonwealth Secretariat.

This publication provides a comprehensive understanding of GRB initiatives and will be invaluable to governments, NGOs, donors and other agencies working to integrate a gender analysis into public expenditure policies and budgets. Divided into four sections, the book provides a conceptual and theoretical framework, traces the evolution of work in this area, assesses the role of different stakeholders and highlights lessons learned to date. A profile of known activities at country level shows how gender responsive budgets have been used as a pivotal tool with which to assess budgetary performance and impact.

Available at:
Budlender, Debbie and Guy Hewitt, 2002. Gender Budgets Make More Cents. Country Studies and Good Practice. London: Commonwealth Secretariat.

This book documents ‘good practice’ in gender budget work from across the globe. Practitioners share their first-hand experiences and in-depth knowledge of the why, where and how of gender responsive budget (GRB) initiatives. They reflect on both the challenges and successes of initiatives in the Andean region, Australia, Korea, Mexico, the Philippines, Rwanda, Scotland, South Africa and the United Kingdom. A chapter on the Commonwealth Secretariat’s involvement in developing and implementing GRB initiatives is also included to suggest the role that can be played by external agencies at the national, regional, and international level. This book will be useful to people from multilateral and bilateral agencies and civil society, and inspire them to take forward gender budget work in their own country and organisation.

Available at:
Budlender, Debbie and Rhonda Sharp with Kerri Allen, 1998. How to do a gender-sensitive budget analysis: Contemporary research and practice. Canberra: AusAID and London: Commonwealth Secretariat.

This document draws data from countries which already have gender-sensitive budgets in place or those which are initiating them (Australia, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Tasmania, Sri Lanka, Barbados). It shows the diversity of approaches in different countries, and covers the issues, methods and strategies for the first year of implementing the exercise. It has a strong practical orientation, built on a sound research base, and includes theory, examples and discussion questions. The book is the basis for a series of structured workshops for civil servants from different departments.

Available at:
Hurt, Karen and Debbie Budlender, (eds.) 2000. Money Matters Two. Women and the local government budget. Idasa. South Africa.
Inter-Parliamentary Union, UNIFEM, UNDP, and WBI, 2004. Parliament, the Budget and Gender.

This reference tool/handbook, available in English, French and Arabic, is the sixth in a series produced by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) which seeks to advance parliament's own capacity to make a positive impact on the budget, and to equip parliament, its members and parliamentary staff with necessary tools to examine the budget from a gender perspective.

English available at:

Arabic available at:

French available at:
Public Administration Research and Consultation Centre (PARC) and the Egyptian National Council for Women, No date. Performance-based Budgeting from a Gender Perspective

This resource book explains performance based budgeting and ways of integrating gender into those budgets. The book, produced in Arabic, also provides a number of examples and practical tools. 

Arabic language available at:
Sen, Gita, 1999. A Quick Guide to Gender Mainstreaming in Finance. London: Commonwealth Secretariat. Available at:

Spanish Language Resources
GTZ, UNIFEM, UNFPA, Sin Fecha. Presupuestos Públicos y Género en América latina y el Caribe, Disponible en:
UNIFEM, 2003, Documento Metodológico sobre el Análisis del Presupuesto Público con Enfoque De Género.

Este documento, recoge la sistematización de experiencias de análisis de presupuesto y la propuesta metodológica obtenida a través de la adaptación de herramientas desarrolladas por UNIFEM-Región Andina en Bolivia, Ecuador, y Perú, durante el periodo 2001-2003.

Disponible en:

UNIFEM RA y FLACSO, 2005. Hacia la transparencia y la gobernabilidad con equidad.

Presupuestos sensibles al género en la región andina. Quito, Ecuador.

Este libro documenta, en seis capítulos, el proceso que UNIFEM-RA siguió para impulsar esas iniciativas en Bolivia, Ecuador y Perú, mediante su programa DESafíos, sobre derechos económicos y sociales (DES), y como una herramienta para lograr el empoderamiento de las mujeres mediante el ejercicio de esos derechos.

Disponible en:

Key Web Sites
The Commonwealth Secretariat has been involved in issues of gender mainstreaming,

gender equity and gender and macro-economic issues for many years. Their web site has

a wealth of information on these subjects including on GRBIs. For additional information on macro-economics and gender-responsive budgets see:
UNIFEM’s Programme on Women’s Economic Security and Rights.

For many years UNIFEM has been active providing financial and technical assistance for innovative programmes and strategies that promote women’s human rights, political participation and economic security. The Programme economics and reducing women’s poverty has supported extensive work on GRBIs in all world regions.
UNIFEM, The Commonwealth Secretariat and IDRC.

This Gender Responsive Budgets Initiatives (GRBI) website is a collaborative effort between the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), The Commonwealth Secretariat and Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC), to support government and civil society in analysing national and/or local budgets from a gender perspective and applying this analysis to the formulation of gender responsive budgets. The initiative strives to promote the global objectives and cross-regional information sharing through the formation/support of a network, further development of concepts, tools and training materials, global training of trainers, South-South exchanges, and collaboration with international and regional organizations.

This site is also available in French and Spanish.

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