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Gender, water, and nutrition in India: An intersectional perspective

Amit Mitra
Independent Researcher, New Delhi, India; artimtima@gmail.com

Nitya Rao
School of International Development, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK; n.rao@uea.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Despite the global recognition of women’s central role in the provision, management, and utilisation of water for production and domestic use, and despite the close links between production choices, the security of water for consumption, and gendered social relations, the implications of these interlinkages for health and nutrition are under-explored. This paper seeks to fill this gap. It unpacks the gendered pathways mediating the links between water security in all its dimensions and nutritional outcomes, based on research in 12 villages across two Indian states. The findings point to the importance of the dynamic links between natural (land and water) systems and gendered human activities, across the domains of production and reproduction, and across seasons. These links have implications for women’s work and time burdens. They impact equally on physical and emotional experiences of well-being, especially in contexts constrained by the availability, access, quality, and stability of water.

KEYWORDS: Gender, water, agriculture, nutrition, food security, India