Women and rural water management: Token representatives or paving the way to power?

Christina Geoffrey Mandara, Anke Niehof, Hilje van der Horst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper discusses how informal structures intersect with women's participation in formally created decision-making spaces for managing domestic water at the village level in Tanzania. The results reveal the influence of the informal context on women's access to and performance in the formal decision-making spaces. Overall, there is low community involvement in local governance structures, and in most village assemblies that of women is even less. Only in the Social Welfare Committee women are fairly well represented, presumably because of its linkage with the traditional division of labour and women's practical gender needs. In the Village Water Committees, women's representation is regulated by a quota system but women rarely occupy leadership positions. Even when husbands are supportive, patriarchal culture, scepticism and negative stereotypical assumptions on female leadership frustrate the government's effort to enlarge women's representation in the local decision-making spaces. Three entry points for change were identified: successful women leaders as role models; women's passive participation in village meetings that could develop into active participation; and women's membership of social and economic groups which strengthens their skills and bargaining position.

LanguageEnglish
Pages116-133
JournalWater Alternatives
Volume10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Fingerprint

water management
village
decision making
leadership
participation
woman
informal structure
quota system
water
bargaining
labor division
role model
division of labor
Tanzania
social welfare
husband
gender
leader
governance

Keywords

  • Domestic water management
  • Tanzania
  • Women participation

Cite this

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title = "Women and rural water management: Token representatives or paving the way to power?",
abstract = "This paper discusses how informal structures intersect with women's participation in formally created decision-making spaces for managing domestic water at the village level in Tanzania. The results reveal the influence of the informal context on women's access to and performance in the formal decision-making spaces. Overall, there is low community involvement in local governance structures, and in most village assemblies that of women is even less. Only in the Social Welfare Committee women are fairly well represented, presumably because of its linkage with the traditional division of labour and women's practical gender needs. In the Village Water Committees, women's representation is regulated by a quota system but women rarely occupy leadership positions. Even when husbands are supportive, patriarchal culture, scepticism and negative stereotypical assumptions on female leadership frustrate the government's effort to enlarge women's representation in the local decision-making spaces. Three entry points for change were identified: successful women leaders as role models; women's passive participation in village meetings that could develop into active participation; and women's membership of social and economic groups which strengthens their skills and bargaining position.",
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Women and rural water management : Token representatives or paving the way to power? / Mandara, Christina Geoffrey; Niehof, Anke; van der Horst, Hilje.

In: Water Alternatives, Vol. 10, No. 1, 2017, p. 116-133.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AB - This paper discusses how informal structures intersect with women's participation in formally created decision-making spaces for managing domestic water at the village level in Tanzania. The results reveal the influence of the informal context on women's access to and performance in the formal decision-making spaces. Overall, there is low community involvement in local governance structures, and in most village assemblies that of women is even less. Only in the Social Welfare Committee women are fairly well represented, presumably because of its linkage with the traditional division of labour and women's practical gender needs. In the Village Water Committees, women's representation is regulated by a quota system but women rarely occupy leadership positions. Even when husbands are supportive, patriarchal culture, scepticism and negative stereotypical assumptions on female leadership frustrate the government's effort to enlarge women's representation in the local decision-making spaces. Three entry points for change were identified: successful women leaders as role models; women's passive participation in village meetings that could develop into active participation; and women's membership of social and economic groups which strengthens their skills and bargaining position.

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