Liza Debevec joined the global GWP secretariat in May 2020 as Senior Gender & Water Specialist. She is the first full-time GWP staff dedicated to gender, and her main task is to operationalize the gender dimensions of GWP's 2020-2025 Strategy, more specifically the GWP Gender Strategy and Gender Action Piece. When she joined GWP, she said that “the biggest gender and social inclusion challenge in every sector, not just in water resources management, is that of access, or the lack of access to relevant resources that women and vulnerable communities face.”
“The complexity of gender relations is even more complicated if the audience cannot read it in a language they know. With GWP working in areas where Spanish, French, and Russian are the primary working languages, we see these translations as an important step towards integrating gender into all aspects of our regional engagement. This action of course needs to be accompanied by practical application of the four action areas,” says Debevec.
In the past months, Debevec has dedicated time to understanding how the four action areas can be applied in practical day-to-day activities, and where the challenges lie. She conducted in-depth discussions with experts, captured in these feature articles:
- Embracing Gender Equality and Inclusion – It Starts From the Top
- Gender Analysis – a Tool for Transforming Water Resources Management
- Gender Equality – Let’s Talk Accountability
- Understanding Culture – a Must for Equal Access
The discussions highlighted the complexity around gender equality and social inclusion in different parts of the world. But all discussions showed that the Gender Action Piece has proven to be a valuable resource to start the discussions, and Debevec will continue to highlight its action areas to new audiences.
The Austrian Development Agency (ADA), which funds Debevec’s position at GWP, states on their website that “gender equality and the empowerment of women are major preconditions for poverty reduction, economic growth and social development.” This is one of the reasons why they decided to fund Debevec’s position.
“Gender impacts people’s relationship with water because it determines the needs, access and use of this vital resource. Working towards fulfilling the commitments of the agenda 2030 in the context of building back better and greener after the COVID-19 pandemic, the particular challenges and barriers women and girls face with regard to water and water management cannot go unaddressed. This Action Piece is an important tool for mainstreaming gender and highlighting the need to tackle discriminating social norms and empowering women to actively participate in decision-making. We are proud to partner with the GWP in our efforts to advocate for transformative approaches for a healthier, gender-equal future,” says ADA Gender Advisor Corinna Pröll.