Mainstreaming gender in transboundary water governance: a South Asian perspective
Stellina Jolly Associate Professor, South Asian University, New Delhi; Visiting Senior Research Associate, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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Shachi Singh Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi, Delhi

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Ashish Saraswat Assistant Professor, School of Law and Legal Studies, Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies Technical Campus, New Delhi

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In South Asia, multiple transboundary river basins are shared by countries of varying size and influence. Sharing the waters of these trans-boundary river systems has been a cause of conflict in the region for over seven decades. Economically, socially, and culturally, the people of South Asia are heavily dependent on these water resources for their sustenance. However, the reliance on water resources is gendered, and due to persistent economic and social disparities and restricted participation in decision-making, South Asian women are more susceptible than men to the uncertainties surrounding water supplies. The international water law and transboundary water agreements (TWAs) fail to highlight the considerable vulnerabilities that women experience in finding their voice in transboundary water governance. The 1997 UN-Watercourses Convention has certain entry points for incorporating gender concerns. However, the Convention has failed explicitly to adopt gender as a cross-cutting theme. This article analyses the existing legal framework of the transboundary water agreements in South Asia and addresses whether and how far gender-specific issues have been incorporated into these agreements. This is an attempt to identify specific entry points and strategies for gender engagement in transboundary water governance and to put forth the argument that any step aiming to incorporate gender concerns should be specific to the needs of the women of the region.

Contributor Notes

The authors thank the editors and the anonymous reviewers of APJEL for their valuable comments on the earlier version of the manuscript. We sincerely appreciate all valuable comments and suggestions which helped us to improve the quality of the manuscript.

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