IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Water: Gender and Material Inequalities in the Global South


  • Crow, Ben


Because water is pivotal for health and livelihoods, inadequate access to water may be a significant cause of poverty and conflict. Poor access to clean water for drinking causes ill health. Poor access to water for agriculture and other livelihoods may be a cause of material deprivation. How people get access to water is surprisingly complex and varied. That access involves natural conditions, human tools and social practices. This paper is about modes of access to water, the main social and technical conditions through which people gain command over water. Modes of access have particular characteristics. Some are free, others cost money. Some, like well-water, require work on the part of the water consumer, while other modes of access, like piped water, may entail little work. The potential for change and for sustainable use of water may also vary according to the mode of access. Water deprivation is widespread, and at the beginning of the twenty-first century it has to be tackled under unpromising conditions. Scarcity is increasing and government action is becoming more constrained. These circumstances demand innovation if water deprivation is to be tackled effectively. That innovation will require us to understand the technical, social and natural dynamics of the main modes of water access.

Suggested Citation

  • Crow, Ben, 2001. "Water: Gender and Material Inequalities in the Global South," Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, Working Paper Series qt0rq308jc, Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, UC Santa Cruz.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:glinre:qt0rq308jc

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:;origin=repeccitec
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sen, Gita, 1996. "Gender, markets and states: A selective review and research agenda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 821-829, May.
    2. Bakker, M. & Barker, R. & Meinzen-Dick, R. & Konradsen, F., 1999. "Multiple uses of water in irrigated areas: a case study from Sri Lanka," IWMI Books, Reports H024568, International Water Management Institute.
    3. Richards, Alan, 2001. "Coping with Water Scarcity: The Governance Challenge," Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, Working Paper Series qt7pv2m477, Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, UC Santa Cruz.
    4. Agarwal, Bina, 1994. "Gender and command over property: A critical gap in economic analysis and policy in South Asia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(10), pages 1455-1478, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Environment and Development;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdl:glinre:qt0rq308jc. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lisa Schiff). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.