In the last two decades, there has been an increase in substantial body of work on the inclusion of women in the water management and governance field. However, these scholarly inquiries have mostly focused on cases from the Global South, where women are still underrepresented in decision-making positions in the water resources sector. This study, by focusing on a case study in the Global North—the Deschutes River Basin, the USA—
attempts to make a scholarly contribution to understand gendered representation in water
management in the Global North and specifically in Oregon.
The first half of this thesis examined the texts of Oregon’s 2017 Integrated Water
Resource Strategy, Oregon’s 100 Year Water Vision, and Deschutes River Basin Area
Plans for the integration of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) approach and
Dublin Principles. The results demonstrated that while the majority of IWRM and Dublin
Principles were included in the state and basin-wide documents, the role of women as
decision-makers has not been acknowledged. To further understand the extent of women‘s
inclusion and their role in state and basin-wide water resource management plans, the second half of the thesis was dedicated to mapping water-related institutions and their employees in the Deschutes River Basin (DRB) in order to generate sex-disaggregated data on positions held by women and men during the June 2019 – January 2020 period. My findings illustrate that women are underrepresented throughout the DRB, increasingly so in decision-making roles in traditionally male-dominated sectors such as irrigation districts, water conservation districts as well as state and federal level water-related institutions. The results of this thesis highlight the need for conducting more research on the role of women‘s
representation in water management in Oregon and in other cases in the Global North. My
findings also illustrate the need for the collection of sex-disaggregated data and the inclusion of women in the next round of updates to Oregon’s Integrated Water Resource Strategy.