Integrating gender in Agriculture and Irrigation Water Management at community level in Hai Duong province, Vietnam

Integrating gender in Agriculture and Irrigation Water Management at community level in Hai Duong province, Vietnam

Integrating gender in Agriculture and Irrigation Water Management at community level in Hai Duong province, Vietnam

11:27 - 19/03/2018

RESEARCH ON THE SCIENTIFIC AND PRACTICAL BASIS TO HARMONISE WATER ALLOCATION WITH WATER TREATMENT FOR IRRIGATION SYSTEMS IN THE RED RIVER DELTA
Community based water quality monitoring: a multi-benefit approach to water governance in the Red river basin, Vietnam
Small-scale irrigation – effective solution for sloping land areas
Assessment of climate change impacts on river flow regimes to support decision-making in water resources management in The Red River Delta, Vietnam – A case study of Nhue-Day River Basin
Impact of existing water fee policy in the Red River Basin, Vietnam

Although the National Strategy on Clean Water Supply and Rural Sanitation affirmed the important role of women in managing and maintaining the water resources, the plan and program formulation and implementation haven’t been integrated fully the women role. The implementing agencies hasn’t put the gender issues into the design and maintenance of water supply system, the development of information system, and the formulation of wate

MK33 PROJECT: CAPACITY BUILDING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF WATER GOVERNANCE AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT PRACTITIONERS IN THE RED RIVER BASIN

The Role of Woman in Water Management

Integrating gender in Agriculture and Irrigation Water Management at community level in Hai Duong province, Vietnam

Mentor: Dr. Nguyen Thi Anh Tuyet

Fellow: MSc. Le Thi Hong Nhung

Key messages

Many women work in the water management sector but their participation in decision-making at both national and subnational levels and their representation in leadership roles are limited.

Securing women’s tenure and leadership for water use and water management can not be guaranteed until the contradictions in various laws, policies and practices are addressed.

Enhanced technical capacity, as well as adequate financial and suitable human

 

Background

Women are an important labor force in our country. They have been actively involved in the agricultural production activities and played an important role in economic development in the rural area. However, woman also faced subjective difficulties in the production process due to their own limitations (MARD, 2012) (technical qualifications, health, etc.) or objective limitations (accessibility to the capital/loans, employment, social services, etc.)  

According to the statistics, the rural female workers accounted for 58.02% of total rural labor force in the fields of agriculture, forestry, and fishery (particularly, the female workers accounted for 56.29% of total labor in agriculture sector) and currently, female workers produce over 60% agricultural products (MARD, 2012). On the other hand, the role of women in water resources protection and utilization hasn’t been paid sufficient attention.

Table 1: Gender division in Agriculture and Irrigation management in Gia Xuyen commune, Gia Loc district, Hai Duong province

Although the National Strategy on Clean Water Supply and Rural Sanitation affirmed the important role of women in managing and maintaining the water resources, the plan and program formulation and implementation haven’t been integrated fully the women role. The implementing agencies hasn’t put the gender issues into the design and maintenance of water supply system, the development of information system, and the formulation of water use fee, as well as the communication and education. Moreover, the irrigation management for agricultural production at local level, especially at community level has been taken over by the women (Table 1); however, their role hasn’t been recognized officially. Hence, the improvement of women role in agricultural water resources management is an essential part of the gender equality agenda. Especially, the role of women should be recognized fully in order to address the gender imbalance in terms of human resources for water resources management and decision making process.

At the community level, women are hardly involved in the management, coordination and decision-making or management of irrigation, although women are the main source of labor in the field, they participate almost all the work from preparing the crop to harvesting agricultural products. Most of the officials in charge of water resources at the community level are male, they are involved in all the activities such as water distribution, upgrades, and maintenance works, therefore men has the voice in decision in irrigation management at the community level. The study area is Gia Xuyen commune - Gia Loc district in Hai Duong province. Management organization and system of irrigation works are representative characteristics of the Red River Delta region. The organizational structure is the Cooperative Agricultural services manages all agricultural activities including irrigation services

As mention above, the women play an important role in agricultural production, and accounted for the majority of rural labor. Since, women are often assigned to housework, they have less chance to migrant or work in faraway area while the non-agricultural jobs are suitable to men as they are stronger and have more change to travel.

According to the survey with 100 women in Gia Xuyen commune, the majority depends on crop production and husbandry (accounted for 96%) and only a few involves in non-agricultural activities such as small trade, service, workers in industrial parks, government officials (4%). 78% income of women is from agricultural production. In the time of finishing harvesting, women can involve in non-agricultural production activities and gain addition income (accounted for 22%).

According to the survey, the decisive role between men and women in agricultural production is not equal. Through group discussion and in depth interview, at households where men stay at home not going out for non-agricultural activities, men play decisive role. In a contract, where men are regularly absent to do non-agricultural activities, the decision will be made by women.

Although women take care of all works in irrigation sector, the inequality in Vietnam is mainly due to the traditional perspective. It is taken for granted that irrigation works are head work that only be implemented by man as the leading role while women just play the subordinating roles. This article will present the perspective on women role on water management at community level and propose recommendations to integrating woman role in participatory irrigation management policies under the Irrigation Development Strategy and Gender Strategy in Agriculture and Rural Development issued by Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. In addition, this is a reference document for the development of instructive decree and draft of law on irrigation sector in Vietnam.

Gender concerns in water management policies

The Law on Gender Equality (2006), Strategy on Gender in Agriculture and Rural Development  to 2010 (2003-2010), the National Strategy on Gender Equality (2011-2020) and the National Action Programme on Gender Equality (2011-2015), among other policy and strategy instruments, form a legal framework to support gender equality in water management. However gaps remain that need to be considered during policy development or revision to strengthen gender equality in water management activities.

Gender Strategy in Agriculture and Rural Development to 2010 (2003) set out the goal of integrating solutions in order to strengthen the gender equality in policy, program, project, and services related to agriculture and rural development, harmonizing the gender equality objectives with other socio-economic development goals of the sector. This Strategy indicated that the integration of gender strategy into agriculture and rural development strategies; however, the strategy didn’t mention specifically the integration of gender into sub-sector such as water resources management. In this sense, the lack of institutions and policies, including human resources, finance, guideline for the implementation and approaches.

At local level, the integration indicator is only implemented at local authority level and some social organizations. The application of integration indicators in specific sectors has not mentioned, especially in irrigatiom management. In fact, the prejudice that men accounted for the leading role still engrained in the minds of policy makers and managers. Therefore, more efforts are required for local agencies to integrate gender into policy and implementation in agriculture and irrigation. To encouter these problems, the following challenges will help to better understanding woman role in irrigation management and how to integrate gender issues in irrigation management policy.

  • Women are not allow to participate or access the decision making process as well as undertake the leading position; hence, their opportunities are limited;
  • Woman is not recognized as the independent entity to implement the management works in irrigation sector;
  • Rural women have few chance to access the capacity building activies such as training, meeting, etc.

Moving forward

Viet Nam has made progress in promoting gender equality across all sectors, including agriculture and water management, in addition to demonstrating commitments towards international gender agreements. Despite progress towards mainstreaming gender in agriculture and water management policies and practices, some challenges remain for which the following recommendations are suggested.

  • Strengthening gender equity and elaborate the woman status through policies and programs in the field of agriculture and rural development
  • Institutionalize gender by integrating into the process of designing, planning and implementing of projects and programs on agriculture and rural development as well as irrigation sector.
  • Enhance the awareness of stakeholders in order to obtain the gender equality for women in the field of agriculture and rural development as well as water resources management;
  • Improve the accessibility to water sources of women in water resources management activities at community level;
  • Integrate gender idicators, M&E tools with gender analysis into policies, regulations, norms, local plan, especially in water resources management organizations
  • Improve the empowerment and accessibility opportunities of women to the decision making process at organizations and local agencies.
  • A national system for collection of gender-disaggregated data in the water management sector should be established at the national level for better understanding of the rights and responsibilities of men and women and their contributions to water management;
  • There is a need for more knowledge and information on gender issues in water management, as well as guidelines for mainstreaming gender aspects into national water management policy development.

 

References

Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). 2003. Gender strategy for agriculture and rural development in 2010 (in Vietnamese).

Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). 2012, Position and role of rural women in its current condition.

Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). 2014, Protocol on improving the performance of existing irrigation and drainage systems, Water Resources Directorate, 784/QD-BNN-TL, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Hanoi, Vietnam. (In Vietnamese)