Role of women in water-food-energy (WFE) nexus - challenges and opportunities

Zohrabi, Narges; Ragab, Ragab; Nassaj, Behzad Navidi; Farahani, Firoozeh; Nairizi, Saeed. 2023 Role of women in water-food-energy (WFE) nexus - challenges and opportunities. In: Ragab, Ragab, (ed.) Proceedings: international workshop on the water-energy-food-nexus: implementation and examples of application. New Delhi, India, International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID), 107-118.

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Water, food, and energy are vital for human existence and development and their interconnectedness plays a significant role in achieving sustainable development goals. Water- Food-Energy (WFE) Nexus represents an approach to examine the complexity and interdependence of the diverse components engaged in managing water, food, and energy. The correlation between water, food, and energy resources and their relationship with environmental, climate change, economic, social, governance, and policy issues necessitates stakeholder collaboration to ensure access to resources, improve efficient management and protection of resources, and provide long-term sustainability. Systematic management of these sectors is essential for attaining Nexus goals and ensuring sustainable development. Despite extensive research on the WFE Nexus in recent years, particularly regarding economic efficiency, sustainable agriculture, and climate change's impact, women's role has often been overlooked. Women contribute significantly to all three water, food, and energy sectors. Traditionally, women have played vital roles in water management, from gathering and preserving water resources to overseeing household water usage. Their intimate knowledge of local water sources and their nurturing instincts position them as guardians of water in their communities. Women's involvement in water governance can result in improved resource management, enhanced water quality, and increased access to clean water, especially in marginalized and rural areas. Also, women can effectively manage water resources due to having traits such as empathy, sensitivity to the environment, ability to think systemically, and strong communication. One of the women's critical roles in water resources management is identifying and managing water demand, especially for agriculture (food). Within the WFE Nexus, women play a crucial role in agricultural production, food security, and nutrition. Globally, women comprise a significant portion of the agricultural workforce and are responsible for crop cultivation, livestock rearing, and food processing. Empowering women in agriculture can boost productivity, promote sustainable farming practices, and ensure community food security. Moreover, women's ecological and social knowledge of traditional food systems and their role as caregivers make them advocates for nutritious and culturally appropriate diets. On the other hand, food production and processing of agricultural products also require energy. In the energy sector, women contribute to the WFE Nexus by promoting sustainable and inclusive energy solutions. As primary users and managers of household energy, women deeply understand energy needs and can drive the adoption of renewable energy technologies at the grassroots level. Their active participation in decision-making processes related to energy planning and policy formulation ensures diverse perspectives and needs are considered, resulting in more effective and equitable energy solutions. Promoting gender equality and women's empowerment is crucial for harnessing the full potential of women within the WFE Nexus. Gender-responsive policies and inclusive decisionmaking processes are essential to ensure women's participation and representation at all levels. Investments in education and skills training can enhance women's capabilities, enabling them to assume leadership roles and contribute to sustainable water, energy, and food management. Empowered women have the agency to drive innovation, promote social equity, and instigate transformative change within the WFE Nexus. Empowering women and promoting gender equality within the WFE Nexus can lead to more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable outcomes. To fully harness the potential of women, it is crucial to provide them with access to resources, opportunities, and decision-making power that can significantly contribute to establishing the Nexus approach; this will ensure their meaningful participation and leadership in shaping a more sustainable future. Considering the contribution of women as the social capital of countries, this article explores the multifaceted contributions of women in addressing the challenges and opportunities presented by the WFE Nexus, highlighting their roles in enhancing sustainability, equity, resilience, adaptation, better management, and governance. Presented as part of the 25th ICID Congress and 74th IEC Meeting, held 1-8 November 2023 at Visakhapatnam (Vizag), Andhra Pradesh State, India

Item Type: Publication - Book Section
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: UKCEH Fellows
ISBN: 9788189610364
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Report is freely available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: water-food-energy nexus, women’s role, sustainable development goals, women's empowerment
NORA Subject Terms: General
Date made live: 21 Dec 2023 15:46 +0 (UTC)

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