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January 2005
264 pages  

6 x 9
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Opposing Currents
The Politics of Water and Gender in Latin America
Bennett, Vivienne, Dávila-Poblete, Sonia, Rico, María Nieves
A collection of essays examining the intersection between water conservation and women’s roles in a variety of Latin American settings—rural and urban, across a range of countries.

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Vivienne Bennett is professor of liberal studies at California State University San Marcos. She is the author of The Politics of Water: Urban Protest, Gender, and Power in Monterrey, Mexico and coeditor of Opposing Currents: The Politics of Water and Gender in Latin America.
Sonia Dávila-Poblete is a technical advisor for the Global Water Partnership.
María Nieves Rico is Social Affairs Officer for the Women and Development Unit of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (United Nations), based in Chile.
"Opposing Currents provides a comprehensive overview of women's disadvantages with respect to water rights in Latin America and why and how this matters. In a series of lively essays, the authors in this volume demonstrate that women are central in the provision, management, and safeguarding of water [and] make a compelling case for a gender perspective in water policy, water management, and water projects.” —Carmen Diana Deere, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

"Offers an innovative interpretation of the interaction of two powerful currents: competition for access to scarce usable water in societies undergoing wrenching socioeconomic change, and the emerging influence of women as a significant political force in Latin America." —John J. Bailey, Georgetown University

"Sets a new standard in scholarly writing on water and gender issues in Latin America.” -Bulletin of Latin American Studies

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Pitt Latin American Series Table of Contents
Latin America/Politics Read a selection from this book

In every part of the world, looming or full-blown water crises threaten communities from the largest cities to the smallest rural towns. Over the past two decades, there has been increased attention at the global level to the devastating effects of water shortages and pollution, and policies and principles for implementing the sustainable management of water resources have proliferated. But scholars and activists are beginning to understand that top-down environmental policies are doomed to fail if they do not address local cultures and customary uses. As the contributors to Opposing Currents illustrate, that failure is most evident in the inability to recognize that women not only should become central to water management at the local level, but that, in fact, they already are. This volume focuses on women in Latin America as stakeholders in water resources management. It makes their contributions to grassroots efforts more visible, explains why doing so is essential for effective public policy and planning in the water sector, and provides guidelines for future planning and project implementation. After an in-depth review of gender and water management policies and issues in relation to domestic usage, irrigation, and sustainable development, the book provides a series of case studies prepared by an interdisciplinary group of scholars and activists. Covering countries throughout the hemisphere, and moving freely from impoverished neighborhoods to the conference rooms of international agencies, the book explores the various ways in which women are-and are not-involved in local water initiatives across Latin America. Insightful analyses reveal what these case studies imply for the success or failure of various regional efforts to improve water accessibility and usability, and suggest new ways of thinking about gender and the environment in the context of specific policies and practices.


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