Social exclusion of women in water governance: an experiences of villages

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Ilavarasi, S.

Water is the common resource for life-sustaining and right of all human beings. It is essential to the livelihoods and well-being of the world’s popula- tion of human and animals. But water has been under crisis in access, distribution, optimum utility and affordability in recent days where water has become a commercial-cum-commodity in market. In India, though the country has hundreds of rivers flows through both perennial and interstate. The irony is that millions people at different social status suffer from lack of access to clean, safe drinking water, inadequate water for food production due to the continuing effects of pollution, environment and climate change. Erratic monsoon, encroachment and poor management of water bodies and unaware of new creation of water resources have resulted in uncritical about the water governance. The consequences of the water governance have contributed to un/underemployment as the result of agricultural failure in the rural parts of the country which led to migration, food insecurity, poor sanitation and public health and above all feminization of poverty and labour is unforeseen in the policy dimensions. Poor governance and improper management of water resources pushed village poor people from native to migrate the nearby cities in search of jobs; whereas women and girls are trudging still further (NCW, 2005). Water has been central to the politics of development by widening the gulf between powerful and powerless in the name of caste, class, gender and market. The imbalanced of power relationship has marginalized women and children by making them more vulnerable to access. Social exclusion of women in participation from the water management and governance worsens their access, maintenance and asserting rights on water even though they are closely associated in the process of collecting, using and conserving. The embedded gender discrimination in public and private spheres of society directly or indirectly alienate women from owning the resources in general, natural resources in particular i.e. water.

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