While there is evidence that women and girls are disproportionally affected by the impacts of climate change and lack of access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services; they also have the potential to transform and enable better WASH services. This can be achieved through their involvement in WASH decision-making processes and the provision of the right tools and spaces to address these issues.
There are currently gender monitoring tools such as the Empowerment in WASH Index (EWI) and Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) tool that can help us understand how WASH interventions can contribute to changes in WASH-related gender outcomes within the context of climate change, such as decision-making and control over resources. WASH-related gender data can enable better WASH policies and practices that put gender aspects at the centre of climate action and can help communities be more resilient in response to climate change.
Within the context of climate change, systems thinking can be used as an approach to find areas where women and girls can contribute to shifting social norms and enable meaningful participation in WASH decision-making processes.
However, it is important that research on sensitive topics such as gender-based violence is done through the creation of safe spaces where men and women feel safe to speak up. This can be accomplished through engagement with the community from the beginning of the project and the use of innovative qualitative tools.