WATER FIRST! is one of the international programs directed by COACh, a grassroots organization working around the globe to increase the number and success of women in science and engineering careers. Since 1997, COACh has reached over 20,000 scientists in the U.S. and over 20 developing countries. WATER FIRST! delivers workshops to women scientists to build capacity, create networks of women working in water research, academia and provide professional skills development.
Water Security and Gender in Africa
Water security remains one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. In sub-Saharan Africa, women bear 71% of the water collection burden, produce 90% of all food and comprise 70% of the agricultural workforce. Women are involved in water-related activities such as water conservation, water storage, domestic cleaning, crop production and preparation of food. Despite this, women have restricted access to the resources needed to secure and manage scarce water such as land, agricultural inputs, finance and credit. African women are at the forefront of the daily struggle for water security, but few are in key leadership positions in the water resources area. This lack of representation in decision-making roles removes women’s vital contribution to water resource policymaking and management, and further exacerbates the existing disconnection between policy and implementation.