Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


(In)visible women: Representation and Conceptualization of Gender in Water Governance and Management Public Deposited

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  • Although there is a substantial body of work on the inclusion of women in traditionally male-dominated processes of water management and water governance (Earle & Bazilli, 2013), these efforts have mostly been concentrated in the Global South and women are still lacking in positions with decision-making power, making water governance still gender disparate from the top-down (de Silva, Veilleux, & Neal, 2018). In this thesis, I examine the representation of women and the conceptualization of gender in water governance organizations. In the first study, I compile gender-disaggregated data of employees involved in water governance and management of the Deschutes River Basin (DRB) in central Oregon, USA. Findings show that women are underrepresented throughout the DRB, increasingly so in decision-making roles and in traditionally male-dominated sectors. I conclude by offering recommendations based on gender mainstreaming principles to increase gender representation throughout the basin. The second study broadens the focus area, in which I gather gender disaggregated data from international River Basin Organizations (RBOs) and determine if and to what extent RBOs conceptualize women’s and gender issues. Results indicate that women are underrepresented in RBOs as a whole and in positions of decision-making power. Of the RBOs that do conceptualize gender and/or women, few have incorporated them into explicit policies, and the majority are donor funded and concentrated in the Global South. Findings show that there is no correlation between RBOs that conceptualize gender into their policies or programs and increased equitable gender representation among RBO employees and decision-makers. The results of this research highlight the need for more thorough gender-disaggregated data collection and analysis and gender mainstreaming in all levels of water governance and management in both developing and developed country contexts, which could in turn, increase the effectiveness of such processes and address unequal power dynamics among contesting water users.
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