OPTIMA: Optimisation   for Sustainable
Water Resources Management

Gender Issues

The role of women in the management of water, primarily for domestic and agricultural use, but also their role in the family as the unit of social cohesion, in education, and in the local community is an extremely important one.

However, in the countries around the Mediterranean, and in Muslim societies in particular, the role of women, and specifically their public role, is different from the societies of the EU countries. Gender issues have therefore to be addressed with a careful consideration of, and respect for local culture. However, they are important in the context of water resources planning nevertheless, in particular for community level acceptance and implementation.

The project will therefore use the checklist of proactive ideas and possible actions outlined below to make sure that these issues are considered explicitly wherever feasible:

Management and Coordination:

    Project related group or event Total Female %
    Project team 62 25 40
    Team leaders 12 5 42
    Stakeholder contact persons 228 41 18
    Kick-off meeting, Malta      
    First Management Board Meeting, Izmir 36 12 33
    Second Management Board Meeting, Casablanca 24 8 33
    Third Management Board Meeting, Vienna 20 6 30
    Second Model Workshop, Vienna 12 3 25
    1st Stakeholder workshop Turkey 57 22 39
    1st Stakeholder workshop Lebanon 42 7 17
    1st Stakeholder workshop Tunisia 40 10 25
    2nd Stakeholder workshop Turkey 39 16 41
    1st Stakeholder workshop Jordan 30 10 33
    3rd Stakeholder meeting Turkey 50
    1st Stakeholder workshop Palestine/Israel      
    Regional Stakeholder Workshop, Malta      

Management Objectives:

  • Make gender issues explicit: develop a gender guidebook for the project
  • Review gender issues at the Steering Committee level, report on a regular basis.

Participation and role models:

  • Encourage the participation of women researchers in every participating institute; the project team has numerous female researchers including team leaders;
  • Devise a plan of how the women researchers in the team can be presented as role models for budding young women scientists, provide them with prominent placement on the project web server and publication opportunities;
  • Employ equal opportunities if not affirmative action concepts in training activities, that is aim to have 50% of both genders;
  • Invitations to workshops: insist that participation of women researchers would be particularly welcome;


  • Ensure that the language used in the research is not gender biased or exclusive;
  • Ensure that the project website promotes the equal gender aspect, or provides affirmative action opportunities where appropriate; Make hyperlinks from the project web site to the W.I.S.E. and WITEC networks and other that are relevant and promote gender involvement in science;
  • Ensure to disseminate the 'gender best practice' that develops out of this project as part of the overall networking and dissemination activities;
  • Each participating country can organize 'a secondary school girls' only seminar' to encourage girls to take up science subjects for study;


  • Keep monitoring the gender roles throughout the project.

Other information sources:

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