wH2O Journal: Vol.3, No.1

Page 5

Note from the Editor-in-Chief:

Dear readers, It is with great pleasure that I announce the third issue of wH2O. When we began this journey, we hoped to help establish a platform that brought together various stakeholders and experts to help define—and find solutions—the issues surrounding the empowerment of women in water management. Over the past two years, we have seen a natural evolution of our mandate, finding linkages to how WASH and women are connected to a far bigger picture and we are very excited to see where this takes us. What does the rapidly changing climate and its subsequent effect on water access mean for the rate and pace of women’s empowerment? How can women be better enabled for both a water– and food-secure future? What does gender equality in integrated water resource management really look like? In this edition, we begin to explore some of these questions. Our authors take you across a varied landscape—from India to Zambia, from Guatemala to Uganda. The necessity of WASH interventions for maternal and newborn health is pressed upon us. A research program in Guatemala examines how educating women on water filtration and purification impacts the overall health of the community. In rural Uganda, we review the implications of poor water access and also analyze the symbiotic relationship between land and water rights, and how both must be considered to truly empower women. Current and future water scarcity in India today and how it could affect gender inequality, is examined. In Zambia, a study helps quantify the fundamental role that women hold when it comes to water for their households, the influence that they can potentially exert over water use, and how far progressive policies to involve them in water institutions have succeeded. Finally, this issue takes a philosophical bend to scrutinize the role that repetitive imagery plays in reinforcing the “women and water” stereotype, creating more of a hindrance than help when it comes to finding solutions. Bearing that in mind, we have chosen a cover image empty of any typical depictions of women en route to water collection. The young girl on our cover embodies the empowerment that all of us are striving to achieve for the millions of women around the world. Perhaps she is on her way to school, or to meet some friends — she is free of the barriers and burdens that have denied her the chance to follow her dreams. As with all our editions, none of this would have been possible without our dedicated management team, advisors, and editors. It is said that it’s easier doing things that you love. The enthusiasm and commitment that everyone involved with the journal bring to the table truly demonstrates the depth of this statement. They have worked across multiple cities and time-zones, schedules, and demanding timelines to once again deliver a wonderful issue of the journal. We hope you will enjoy reading it as much as we did making it. With regards, Aishwarya Nair

Photo credit: Arne Hoel/World Bank

© wH2O — University of Pennsylvania


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