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How to make the Water Action Agenda gender transformative: connecting policy, practice, and research

SEI is co-hosting a Side Event at the UN Water Conference to discuss learnings around gender equality. The event will focus on policy, practice and research perspectives, showcasing the interplay between water, gender, social inclusion, and unequal power relations.

23 March 2023 at 18:30 ET

ending at 19:45 ET

New York, United States and Online

UN Headquarters


Not everyone in the world has the same life experiences. People of different genders and social identities have unique challenges in claiming their rights to water and sanitation. Of the billions of people who live in water stressed areas, half are women. At their homes they are often responsible for the unpaid management of water due to unequal gender relations and norms. In accessing water, women face many challenges including gender based violence and sextortion. Not all women have the same experiences. Advantages and disadvantages vary by age, social status, region, disability, religion and more. Based on this, the event aims to discuss:

  • How can we harness and address these different lived experiences of women towards a water secure world for all?
  • How can we engage men as well as those with decision-making power in the process of gender transformative change?

Existing issues are exacerbated by climate change, with too much water, too little water, or contaminated water putting pressure on already vulnerable water and sanitation services. And when drinking water becomes scarce, poor and marginalized women are most likely the ones who will have to spend extra time to gather it, with risks to their safety and dignity. Despite this, women and minority groups are underrepresented in decision-making about water, at the local, national and international levels. However, they are key to delivering sustainable and appropriate services, with their unique knowledge, networks, and needs.

If we want to make this Water Conference truly a watershed moment, women, in all their diversity, need to be empowered in the sector. This session will discuss in-depth solutions and lessons learned from policy, practice, and research perspectives, showcasing the interplay between gender, social inclusion, unequal power relations, and water issues. The panel will include national governments, activist networks, grassroot organizations, and a research institute. We end with concrete recommendations for transformative WASH services.


  • To share experiences and good practices, and identify knowledge gaps.
  • To connect practice, policy, and research towards transformative WASH services.
  • Invite speakers to make voluntary commitments on gender just and transformative WASH services.


Simavi, Ugandan Ministry of Water and Environment, Uganda Water and Sanitation Network (UWASNET), Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), African Civil Society Network for Water and Sanitation (ANEW), Water Integrity Network.

Event details

Date: Thursday 23 March

Time: 18:30-19:45 (ET/GMT-5) 

Venue: United Nations HQ, New York

The event is open to all registered attendees of the UN 2023 Water Conference.

Learn more

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