As the world celebrates International Women’s Day on the 8th March, the issues of gender equity are being prioritised as a mechanism for creating more equal societies and spurring development.
From 7-11 July 2014, stakeholders from across the globe will gather in East London, South Africa for the Gender, Water and Development Conference convened by the Water Research Commission to debate what challenges and successes have emerged in mainstreaming gender across water policy.
The guiding framework for the conference will be the African Minister’s Council (AMCOW) on Water and Gender Strategy where seven clear objectives have been identified from policy, resource, strategic research, capacity building, cooperation and monitoring and evaluation as needed to achieve the overall objective of gender equality.
As the country host, this event also forms part of South Africa’s 20 years of Freedom celebration where the Department of Water Affairs will reflect on its scorecard in delivering clean drinking water and sanitation to the country’s poorest citizens and its efforts to erase the infrastructure backlog of the Apartheid legacy. It is therefore fitting that the conference is held in the country’s historically poorest province of the Eastern Cape, the birthplace of former President Nelson Mandela.
Co-hosts for the conference include South Africa’s Department of Water Affairs, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) and the International Women for Water Partnership (WFWP). Several partner organisations including the Global Water Partnership (GWP), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and CapNet will support the conference in aligning with global initiatives and widening the audience.
The conference programme is designed to encourage broad stakeholder engagement and to serve as a platform for key role players from across community based organisations, academia, government institutions and private sector to exchange knowledge and distil best practice on gender perspectives in policy, programme implementation and governance.
“Our intention for the conference is to challenge the social constructs that define roles for men and women and tackle topics that intersect race, class and gender. Only through an equal society can we achieve the kind of economic stability needed for growth and development in our poorest countries” explains Barbara Schreiner, Chairperson for the conference.
Participants can register for the conference via the website at www.global-water-conference1.com. Opportunities still exist for organisations and companies to join as sponsors and relevant water innovation and technology products are encouraged to exhibit in the Open Area.