Women, rivers and water: a closely connected theme

VN Express –

Women and girls represent over half of the Mekong region’s population, and it is about time that their role received adequate attention.

This March we commemorate International Women’s Day (8th), the International Day of Actions for Rivers (14th) and World Water Day (WWD on 22nd). These annual events and the WWD theme this year “Nature and Climate Change” is a timely reminder of the inter-connection between water and climate change. The world has been experiencing the extreme impacts of climate change not least here in the Mekong region.

As a woman development practitioner, working with Oxfam on water governance in the Mekong, these March events are a timely reminder to me and us all of the inter-dependencies between women, rivers and water and pose the challenge whether enough attention is being paid to the inclusion and leadership of women and their game-changing role in water stewardship and river protection?

In January 2020, I attended a national consultation workshop on the proposed and contested mainstream Luang Prabang, hydropower, dam project on the lower Mekong River, in Laos. Of the over thirty participants, there were three women formally invited: a senior woman government officer, a local NGO Director, and me. Five community women from downstream Northeastern provinces in Cambodia were additionally invited to the consultation by Oxfam and our partners.

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