To understand the different ways that women and men use water, integrated water management is now focusing on gender. Integrated water management has arisen because previously uncoordinated approaches have resulted in environmental degradation from the overexploitation of, and unequal distribution of benefits from, water resources. Approaches that use community participation have failed to address these problems, mainly because communities are seen as a collection of people with a common purpose. However, there is competition for supplies when and in places where resources are scarce, and the least powerful people in a community-that is, poor women and men-go without.

In most societies, unequal power relations between men and women create a further disadvantage for women. The disadvantage occurs because women and men are defined and ...

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