International Women’s Day Webinar – Women, Water and Human Rights

Top Left Clockwise: Nchedi Moripe (South African Department of Water and Sanitation), Raquel Dodge (Deputy Attorney General, Brazil), Mekala Krishnan (McKinsey Global Institute), Mariet Verhoef-Cohen (Women for Water Partnership), Amanda Loeffen (Human Right 2 Water), Maria Teresa Gutierrez (International Labour Organisation)

Watch the webinar here

Find out more about our panellists here

Women are central to much of the work fulfilling the human rights to water and sanitation, and yet often go overlooked. This International Women’s Day 2021, Human Right 2 Water aims to bring attention to the needs of women, as well as the opportunity that women provide for achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6.

Human Right 2 Water’s webinar welcomed a variety of inspirational female leaders and experts, all of whom embody these perspectives, to discuss why women are not in positions of decision-making, the impact of their absence, and the necessary steps to support the inclusion of women in the workplace at all levels, particularly for water provision.

“The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘Choose to challenge’. It celebrates women’s achievements, but also gives us the opportunity to challenge stereotypes, fight prejudice, expand perceptions and improve conditions.”

Words spoken by Amanda Loeffen, Chief Executive Officer of Human Right 2 Water, who introduced the topic and panellists in celebration of this important day.

The first section of the webinar revolved around ‘Women in Decision-Making Positions’ and welcomed two women leaders to speak about their achievements as well as the difficulties that face women that want to participate in decision making.

Raquel Dodge, Former, and first female, Attorney General of Brazil has a history of working with human rights through her program at Harvard University and joined our webinar to discuss how her role has shaped attitudes to women in Brazil.

“The fact I was a woman in the position was unprecedented, linked to resistance and mistrust regarding my ability, integrity and competence, but none of these factors paralysed me”

Nchedi Moripe, Chief Director in South Africa’s Department of Water and Sanitation, has championed various initiatives to promote Gender and the role of Women Globally. Joining our webinar, she delved into the role of women in water in South Africa.

South Africa has been very serious in making sure we empower women, particularly in sectors such as water

The second section focused more specifically on ‘Water and Women’ and welcomed a series of women experts to share their own findings and experiences.

A Partner at the McKinsey Global Institute, Dr. Mekala Krishnan’s research focuses on various topics related to inclusive growth and economic development, including climate risk, globalization, productivity growth in advanced economies, and women’s role in labour markets. Dr. Krishnan opened the section with a review of the research conducted on women in the workplace and the difference that they bring economically.

“If every country in the world began to bridge gender gaps, it would add 12 Trillion Dollars to Global GDP”

Maria Teresa Gutierrez, Technical Specialist at the International Labour Organisation and Gender Specialist on Public works shared with us a few case studies where women have been encouraged to take on traditionally male jobs, and the outcomes.

“In developing regions, 75% of women’s employment is informal and unprotected”

Our final speaker was the President of Women for Water Partnership, Mariet Verhoef-Cohen. Mariet is an expert in the Education, Empowerment and Enablement of women and girls, ensuring they have the capacity, experience and vocational training needed to manage water resources and gain careers in water related professions. She closed our webinar by summarising the previous presentations, drawing on her own personal experience.

Women play a critical role in the supply, management and safeguarding of water, from the designing table to the decision-making table.

The event attracted an audience of around 250 registrants from all over the globe, including Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

For those of you who were unable to attend, a recording of the webinar is available now.

Find panellists’ slide presentations here: Nchedi Moripe (South African Department of Water and Sanitation), Mekala Krishnan (McKinsey Global Institute), Mariet Verhoef-Cohen (Women for Water Partnership), Maria Teresa Gutierrez (International Labour Organisation)