The workshop was organized by SIC ICWC and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and held in the city of Tashkent from 25 to 28 September 2007.
This regional workshop brought together water professionals and representatives of non-government organizations from all the five Central Asian republics. The objective was to give training on gender and water issue. Since the workshop was held within the framework of the joint project of SIC and ADB on the establishment of network GWANET, the project manager Galina Stulina described to the participants the project and its objectives. She pointed to the following project objectives:
The ADB’s representative Mekhri Khudaiberdiyeva told about ADB activities and stressed in particular that ADB realized an importance of this issue and supported it since water sector concerned both men and women. Gender mainstreaming may contribute to increased efficiency of water sector and related agriculture, thus improving the well-being and finally achieving the main ADB’s goal of poverty reduction in the region.
Dinara Alimjanova, gender expert and director of Tashkent Training Center, gave training adapted to the audience. The training workshop was held in form of presentations made by the trainer and trainees, group-work and practices. The following issues were addressed: gender concept; interpretations of this concept; gender stereotypes; and, methods and tools of gender analysis. Each training day was started with monitoring and assessment of the previous day by each national group.
In the first day, the participants were proposed to formulate their visions of given problem. Some of them are listed below:
Sakhvayeva Yekaterina, Department for Water Resources, Kyrgyzstan: “Gender is a mutual understanding by and mutual opportunities for men and women in water resources management. I was glad that ADB has undertaken this activity.”
Isayeva Chinar, chief of District Water Management Organization, Kyrgyzstan: “I am a hydraulic engineer and I like my job very much. However, I was wondering always why women were not enough active in water sector. Moreover, recently, social activity has gone down, especially among the youth. I am glad that this subject is addressed at last.”
Tyubeyev Moldabek, WUA Union, Kyrgyzstan: “this topic is important for both men and women. Lack of consideration for men and women creates social tension.”
Ergasheva Takhmina, SESI, Tajikistan: “I have been dealing with gender issues for two years. Gender is possession of equal rights by men and women. Currently women have no access to the decision-making. Such situation should be reversed since all interests are to be considered equally in the water sector.”
Bakihojayeva Dilorom, SESI, Tajikistan: “Tackling gender problems helps to improve the lives of both men and women.”
Khasanova Natalya, Ministry of Land Reclamation and Water Resources, Tajikistan: “After the civil war, farming mainly fell on shoulders of women, who had no special education, especially in irrigation. Thus, there is a need for raising their educational level.
Umarbekova Aliya, Committee for Water Resources, Kazakhstan: “Gender implies equal opportunities. Unfortunately, there are very few women-decision makers in managerial state machinery, including in water sector.”
Tileukulova Svetlana, OO, Kazakhstan: “Gender is possession of equal rights. We should promote this process and I wish success to all of you in this endeavor.”
Kozhamkulova, BWA, Kazakhstan: “Men dominate over women in water sector. The involvement of women will increase efficiency of the sector since women always know clearly their responsibilities and arrange business.”
Akhmedhojayeva Ifoda, NTC Toza Darya, Uzbekistan: “Eastern mentality implies that the main destiny of woman is to breed children and keep her house. We should provide opportunities for woman to find herself as a professional and educate men in such a way so that they offer such opportunities for women.”
Each national representative made a presentation, which addressed issues proposed beforehand to national coordinators for discussion in their reports:
The presentations were made by the following national coordinators: Sakhvayeva Yekaterina, Kyrgyzstan; Umarbekova Aliya, Kazakhstan; Akhmedhojayeva Ifoda, Uzbekistan; Khasanova Natalya, Tajikistan. Veliyeva Gulalek made a presentation as a representative of Turkmenistan.
All the presentations indicated to current gender problem in water sectors in CAR.
D. Alimjanova showed in expert analysis of Gender-related Development Index (GDI) that none government approached an ideal gender balance (taken as 1.0). The more advanced country in this respect is Norway, with its index of 0.96. The Central Asian republics take the next positions: Kazakhstan – 61st place, GDI = 0.772; Kyrgyzstan – 83rd place, GDI = 0.701; Uzbekistan – 84th place, GDI = 0.694; and, Tajikistan – 91st place; GDI = 0.648.
The negative factors of gender inequality are linked with the following:
The issue of gender and development:
All those items were addressed in the presentation of D.Alimjanova. She illustrated gender stereotypes through the division of men and women by profession, the gender analysis of school manuals, and development of these stereotypes since the childhood. Moreover, the list of male and female characteristics and the following interchange of the titles showed that there was only one distinction, that is male cannot be a biological mother and female cannot be a biological father. Gender deconstruction does not imply the disappearance of distinctions between men and women but it means their social equal rights.
The workshop discussions were very lively. Two days dedicated to consideration of general concepts and methodologies brought the participants to the issue of gender and water. The participants raised several problems and proposed ways for solution. The topics under consideration included a gender component: “Investigation of water users’ society for availability of woman-leaders at present and in the future in Uzbekistan”, “Improvement of living conditions of rural men and women”, “Promoting women to the top echelons of power in the water sector”, “Ensuring quality drinking water for rural settlements under gender policy”, “Improvement of water management, automation of gauging stations and establishment of a united network”, “Improving conditions of the irrigation network in WUAs”, and “The strategy of promoting gender movement in water and agricultural sectors”.
The work was organized in form of group debates, with following discussion of results by all the participants.
Finally, each participant prepared an individual work plan. In such plans the participants planned monitoring o gender balance in water-related agencies, lectures, trainings in focus groups, discussions in situ on the topic “Water and gender”, extension of GWANET network, writing of articles, and contributions to the project web-site.
The individual plans were submitted to project managers and will be returned to each participant in 2 months to supervise his/her obligations.
The interesting answers of the participants to a questionnaire are shown below:
1. Which problems, in your opinion, are the most topical and need deeper studies in the context of Central Asian region?
“Qualitative and quantitative methods of gender analysis”; “Education and job placement of woman-water workers”, “Role of women in water-related system management”, “Irrigation water saving and WUA development, women participation”, “Quality of teaching staff”, “Stereotypes regarding roles of women in the society and industry”, “Statistics in water resources use and management”, and “Gender statistics in water sector”.
2. Which directions should address additional training at the macro-level?
All the participants answered that it is necessary to raise awareness of leaders and decision-makers at all levels, including local administrations, ministries, and water management organizations. There is a need to inform the leaders about the results of social polls on gender aspects. It was proposed to hold training on gender and water for the members of the Interstate Commission for Water Coordination (ICWC).
3. What do you propose for holding such trainings in the future?
“Holding trainings in each republic, at rayon level, with involvement of farmers and wider representation of men”.