Why involve women in transboundary water cooperation settings?

MOP9 side event examines the role of women in water diplomacy.

The importance of female empowerment for promoting transboundary water cooperation was the main theme of discussion of the side event co-organised by GWP-Med and the Geneva Water Hub on “Women, Water and Peace” on Tuesday 28th of September and in relation to the MoP’s theme on Transboundary Water Cooperation and Gender Equality. 

Using story-telling and real-time feedback tools, the event engaged representatives of governments as well as national, regional and international organisations in a discussion on the value, obstacles and ways to enhance women’s involvement in transboundary water management and preventive diplomacy settings. Senior and experienced diplomats and water cooperation professionals shared their hands-on experience and insights on how to enhance the opportunities for more leadership roles for women in water management and diplomacy-related sectors. The event’s participants were actively involved in the exchanges and provided input using the mentimeter online tool, while a panel of prominent speakers reflected on the results of this interactive exercise, delving further on the reasons inhibiting women from attaining more prominent roles in transboundary water settings and the benefits from engaging them.  

The exchanges highlighted the value of working in teams so as to utilise the skills of all, and stressed the importance of truly empowering women through capacitation and opportunities. The discussion emphasised the significance of role models and the duty of all female practitioners to lead by example, while the need for a paradigm shift was underlined given that perceptions are strongly embedded in mentality and culture. The event accentuated the time-bound and socially constructed nature of Gender, thus concluding that it can be changed, and it is in everybody’s hands to act upon it.

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