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This thesis is about gendered policy processes in the irrigation and drinking water sectors in Nepal. Globally, increased women’s participation in formal decision making bodies such as water users’ associations is extensively advocated as a means to reduce existing gender gaps in water access, control and management and ultimately achieve gender equality. In Nepal, this has resulted in water policies since the 1990s that aim to increase female users’ participation in water users’ committees, yet its effectiveness was not known in-depth. This study examined the gendered policy process at the levels of policy discourses, implementation and outcomes in the irrigation and drinking water sectors in Nepal. It found a gap in policy discourses to link efforts to increase women’s participation within the wider goals of the water sector. At implementer level, lack of formal incentives, and contradictions in policy goals with professional culture and the identities of implementers, have had negative effects on implementation. What has been achieved in term of women’s visibility in the committee is an outcome of an implementer’s individual conviction and attitude on working with gender issues. At farm level, leaders of water users associations were more interested to access external resources for system rehabilitation than in internal issues of equity and water distribution. Ability to pay and to negotiate with others determined women’s access to water rather than formal participation means. The outcomes of efforts by water users’ associations to impose rules on water distribution differed between surface irrigation systems and closed pipe water supply systems, which influenced access to water and users’ involvement in the association. The study concludes that efforts to improve participation of women in users’ committees in terms of numbers alone has only indirect impacts on equitable access to water, and uncertain outcomes in improved water delivery to women and other vulnerable users.
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Award date||9 Dec 2014|
|Place of Publication||Wageningen|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
- water management
- drinking water