Mauritius, 03 September 2017 – A gender awareness workshop was conducted by the Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities of Mauritius . The event gathered 18 participants, among which high level officials from the Central Water Authority, the Water Resources Unit and the Wastewater Management Authority. The Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Mauritius also attended and participated in the discussion.
Participants engaged in a lively debate and contributed ideas and views about perceived and real gender inequalities in Mauritius. Connections were made to the water sector and water utilities. Main gender gaps and issues identified and discussed were:
- Understanding biological differences based on sex (male and female) and gender based differences, which refer to the relationships between men and women.
- Concept of masculinity and femininity
- Recruitment and HR policy of the Ministry particularly in the Central Water Authority
- Gendered impact of water stress at the household level due to intermittent water supply or reduced water supply
- Importance of behaviour change in promoting gender equality
The Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities of the Government of the Republic of Mauritius is responsible for formulation of policy and strategy for the energy, water and wastewater sectors as well as for radiation protection. The institution recently embarked on the task to develop guidelines for the mainstreaming of gender and the development of gender indicators for the water and wastewater sectors. The indicators are expected to help the Ministry and all relevant institutions to ensure gender mainstreaming in these sectors and assess any gender gaps in the project implementation cycle and outputs. This will also contribute to effort of Mauritius to report on international commitments such as the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 5 on gender and Goal 6 on water.
The first draft of the guidelines and the indicator framework will be discussed during a second workshop on 05 of October in order to get feedback from key stakeholders, particularly the NGO sector. Finally, a third workshop will be conducted for on 12 October to sensitise the staff at the ministry on the indicators framework and final guidelines.
This activity is supported by the Atlantic & Indian Ocean Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) project, financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and jointly implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and executed by the United Nations Office for Project Support (UNOPS).