Making Space for Women in Water Management and Policy |

Making Space for Women in Water Management and Policy

IWP Research Seminar


The thesis of this talk is that both women’s representation and how gender is represented have important implications for how water resource development and management impact women and men.  In terms of numerical representation, irrigation, fishing and hydropower bureaucracies in the Mekong Region are dominated by men. The same is often true in national parliaments and local water institutions. In terms of how gender is represented, simplistic stereotypes still dominate public debate and media. Women are mothers who look after children and prepare food; rarely are women fishers, irrigators or planners. This talk explores the thesis through two research studies. The first is about how women and men in different eco-cultural contexts around Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, deal with water-related insecurities such as droughts and floods. The second examines how civil society organizations engaged in hydropower issues in the Mekong Region represent gender in their campaigns, and whether they have succeeded at making political space for women. The analysis shows evidence of strong gender norms, misleading simplifications and strategic distortions. The findings are of practical value to civil society and government organizations committed to women’s empowerment as well as a contribution to scholarship debunking gender essentialism.

Dr. Louis Lebel

Director, Unit for Social and Environmental Research, Chiang Mai University and Adjunct Faculty, Institute of Water Policy, National University of Singapore

Dr. Louis Lebel began working in Thailand in 1991. He is an interdisciplinary researcher with a commitment to sustainability, and strong interest in finding ways to make science more useful to practice and policy. As a scholar he has contributed to the development of resilience-thinking through emphasizing the importance of governance, social justice and scale issues. He has written extensively on the politics of floods and disasters, climate change adaptation in the aquaculture sector, and water governance in transboundary rivers in the Mekong Region. More recently he has been exploring the elaboration and influence of policy narratives. Other current interests are in environmental identities, gender relations, risk perception, communication and decision-making.  He helps edit the journals Global Environmental Change, WIREs Climate Change and Ecology & Society.

Chair Person:

Dr. Leong Ching, Co-Director of Institute of Water Policy, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

Friday, 07 July 2017

12.15 pm - 1.30 pm


Seminar Room 2-2
Manasseh Meyer
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
469C Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 259772

Seats are limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Kindly register your interest in attending by 3rd July 2017. Register now

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