South Africa’s Application of the Gender Mainstreaming Strategy within the Water Resources Management of Rural Areas: Challenges and Limitations

TM Ramoroka


Gender equality for rural development is currently envisaged as a necessary aspect for achieving efficient, effective and sustainable development projects. This aspect was inspired by the unexploited use of women as a resource especially for rural development. Based on the premise that men and women exhibit socially and culturally determined differences in behavior, roles and responsibilities; the Gender Mainstreaming Strategy holds that gender concerns in rural development including in all decisions regarding planning, design, location, operation and maintenance have to be based on the recognition of their differences. However, giving the pragmatic effects of the Gender Mainstreaming Strategy within the rural context has met with many challenges and limitations relating to structural issues, sustainability, the commitment of actors involved and the whole range of aspects of attitudinal change, both at individual and collective levels. This paper theoretically argues that the challenges and limitations involved in the application of the Gender Mainstreaming Strategy leads to virtual mismanagement of development projects within rural communities. Additionally, patriarchal tradition within rural areas has adverse effects on the application of the Gender Mainstreaming Strategy especially within the water resources management. One of the principles of this tradition is that women are household caregivers and men are leaders. However, women are the ones who have more knowledge on the natural resources in their areas and yet they are excluded or limited in their management. The paper therefore concludes that the genuine benefits of rural development would not be realized as long as the context within which the Gender Mainstreaming Strategy is applied remains traditional in terms of the gender status quo.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n20p2517

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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