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Empowerment and Natural Resources


Sumona Bannerjee

FLUID BONDS: VIEWS ON GENDER AND WATER
Edited by Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt
Stree, Kolkata, 2006, pp. 464, Rs. 650.00

SOCIAL AND GENDER ANALYSIS IN NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: LEARNING STUDIES FROM ASIA
Edited by Ronnie Vernooy
Sage Publications, Delhi, 2006, pp. 250, Rs. 250.00

VOLUME XXXI NUMBER 7 July 2007

Fluid Bonds, is a compilation of lucid articles exploring the gender-water association and is aptly titled as it indicates the dynamic nature of the issues it deals with. This book takes the reader across many societies and many cultures to assess the challenges faced by women with regard to one of the most important resources of our earth—water, a resource that is free and bountiful and yet bounded in many ways when it comes to access and use by people, especially women. Every culture is defined by water in many ways—and civilizations have grown around its availability and access. Development depends to a large extent on water projects and the issues of gender equity and justice are imbibed into the ‘development needs’ of society. Incorporating gender into development policy initiatives have been highlighted by significant international organizations like the United Nations, World Bank, Women’s Environment and Development Organisation etc., as well as a host of government and non-government organizations across the world. In totality, this book conveys that much remains to be done in terms of real empowerment. What links all the articles in this book is the fact that there exists a gender inequality in the sphere of water use, access, control and management. Masculinist views and actions have placed the participatory needs and rights of women aside and dominated management issues. This book provides a rationale for viewing water through a ‘gendered lens’ and throws up workable approaches by dealing with real life situations from across the globe.   Fluid Bonds is a compilation of twenty-two papers covering a canvas of issues on how women access and use the most precious resource—water. Each article defines a specific aspect of the gender-water relationship. The articles are broadly grouped into four parts. Part 1 is entitled ‘Global Discourses on Gender and Water’ and presents an understanding of discourses on gender issues in water rights and its relation with globalization, economic dynamics and empowerment. Theoretical underpinnings in the context of the present global scenario are discussed here. Part 2 entitled ‘Gendered Waters in Times and Places’ deals with the context of women’s participation and empowerment priorities that are being practised or are in the process of being formulated, with the help of case studies from Nepal, Australia, India and Vietnam. Part 3 is entitled ‘Gendered Cultures and Economies of Water’. This section deals with cultural connotations of water use by ...


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