Gender plays a vital role in shaping access to and governance of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services in many contexts. Notably, women and men have different WASH-associated roles as well as varying access to resources and power.

Participants in this study conceptualized empowerment in terms of four major themes: (1) availability of resources, (2) WASH information, (3) social and cultural structures, and (4) agency. Participants defined empowerment as a multifaceted process shaped by their physical, social, cultural, and political environments. The study provides researchers and practitioners with a greater understanding of the dimensions of empowerment that are relevant to strengthening WASH interventions and practices.

  • Empowerment is captured as a multifaceted process.
  • The authors emphasize the need to use more inclusive perspectives to address inequities at the household level.
  • Support from male partners in household chores appears to be a common practice in the study area.
  • Support from male partners in WASH activities is critical to enhancing women’s autonomy.
  • The study suggests that multiple facilitators of empowerment exist.