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Women's Collective Action and Sustainable Water Management: Case of SEWA's Water Campaign in Gujarat, India

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Panda, Smita Mishra
Date: 2005
Agency: CGIAR System-wide Program on Property Rights and Collective Action, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC, USA
Series: CAPRi Working Paper, no. 61
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/3978
Sector: Social Organization
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): collective action
water resources
resource management
Abstract: "This paper discusses the Self Employed Women's Association's (SEWA) 'Women, Water and Work Campaign' which organizes women's collective action in Gujarat, India to sustain local water management. Some of the significant factors that have sustained women's collective action are the presence of strong grassroots institutions, the establishment of a technical cadre of women, the ability of women's groups to transcend social barriers and continuous dialoguing with the state. Women have benefited in terms of increased income, reduced drudgery, improvements in the livelihoods of their families, reduced migration of both women and men and increased participation in SEWA's other programs. The most important impact observed is the strengthening of women's collective agency and women's confidence to independently negotiate in the public domain in the water management sector, which was earlier occupied by men. Women's collective agency has catalyzed some gender-equitable change processes at the household level among SEWA leaders but the impacts are not yet widespread."

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