Changing mindsets in a changing climate - International Women’s Day 2022

Ms Dep is from Ba Tri town, Ba Tri district in Ben Tre province, Vietnam. Here she is pictured looking away from the camera, wearing a nón lá (a traditional palm-leaf conical hat)

Ms Dep is from Ba Tri town, Ba Tri district in Ben Tre province, Vietnam. Read her story below. (Thrive Networks East Meets West / Nguyen Van Ngoc Tien, Program Officer)


Today on International Women’s Day, and every day, we celebrate women and water in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); women who are at the forefront of climate change responses, who are building and sustaining a climate-resilient future for us all.

This year’s theme of “Changing Climates: Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow” is anchored to the 66th Commission on the Status of Women 66 (CSW66 2022) Priority Theme. It recognises the inseparability of gender equality and sustainable climate change responses.

Every day, women and girls are disproportionately impacted by climate change and its devastating consequences. Yet, as the most affected, women are also critical to rapid responses and prevention. Harnessing the skills and knowledge of women to conserve our natural resources and create a healthier, more sustainable planet is central to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

But we need to make sure this work doesn’t come at an additional cost to women by adding to their already heavy workloads.

That’s why gender and social inclusion and do no harm approaches are embedded across Water for Women projects. We know that without equality, there is no real development, and that if the benefits are not shared, then they are not sustainable.


Changing mindsets matters in a changing climate – breaking the bias and barriers for equality and diversity in finding solutions for climate resilient WASH

Read more from our IWD 2022 insight by Gender and Inclusion Specialist, Jose Mott


Recognising and valuing the critical contributions of women as decision makers, stakeholders, educators, carers and experts across sectors and at all levels is key to a sustainable, climate-resilient future. Without their voices at the table, this won’t happen.


WASH delivery offers an important entry point to facilitate positive changes in social norms, attitudes, and gender relations. In Asian and Pacific communities, Water for Women partners are delivering inclusive, accessible, and sustainable WASH services and programs, and strengthening the support systems required to ensure the benefits are lasting, socially equitable and help to build resilient communities. We are changing mindsets in a changing climate.


So far, 2.6 million people have benefitted from greater access to WASH services. More than half are women (1.3 million) and of those, 1.2 million are women and girls in rural areas. By the end of this year, we aim to directly support a total 3 million people, including 1.5 million women and girls.


Today, we are sharing stories of inspiring women who are championing inclusive and climate-resilient WASH responses in their communities across the Asia-Pacific region as well as resources from our partners that are contributing to gender equality and social inclusion in WASH.

A Bhutanese woman is pictured sitting at her work desk looking directly at the camera. She is Namgay, a local government leader in Bhutan, and the first female elected Gup in her district!


Leading with Intregrity: Namgay is a role model for rural Bhutanese women

"I am pleased and really proud of how my leadership has encouraged women in my community to come forward and to participate. My work also made people realise the importance of diversity of voices in the decision-making rooms, particularly on the importance and value addition of women leaders,’ says Namgay Pelden.

Namgay is a local government leader in Dagana district of Bhutan. She was the first female Gup (local leader) to be elected at the sub-district level and is a role model for rural Bhutanese women. Her leadership style and efforts have inspired many women to take up decision-making roles and increased their confidence to participate and lead community development activities.

Read more




Von Somaly with her husband and two children are smiling at the camera, proud latrine business owners in Cambodia.

Mrs Von Somaly, proud latrine business owner and change-maker in her community 

Somaly, is both a mother and a provider. She is proud of her family’s business and enjoys being an entrepreneur. She wants her children, Dariya and Ranut, to get a higher education and a good job like the one she currently has.

Somaly is a representation of women’s growing ownership and leadership in WASH businesses in Cambodia. No doubt, she will surely continue to be the face of her family’s business and inspire other women entrepreneurs in her community, and of course, her children...

Read more

A group of woman from India are dressed in bright colours, talking to each other was they draw with rice flour, chalk and flowers, creating messages for their community about conserving water

Women at the forefront in Odisha, India

Women members of Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR)'s Single Window Forum and Community Management Committee are creating "rangoli" or floor paintings; this method is used in many parts of India as an auspicious symbol of prosperity, good luck and growth.

The rangoli patterns are drawn using flowers, rice flour and coloured chalk powder to motivate all members of their community to get into the habit of conserving water.

Photo: Centre for Advocacy and Research, CFAR, India


Solomon Islands

 Jacinta Votu is standing in her village in Solomon Islands, she wears gloves as she is holding a water sample from the village tap that will be tested by the Plan International new times new targets team

Meet Jacinta, Verahue village's water champion!   

In Verahue village in West Guadalcanal, Jacinta Votu is a community leader and change-maker. She leads the once all-male village water committee, which oversees management of the water supply and contributes to strengthening the Water Security Improvement Plan. Under Jacinta’s leadership, significant water management improvements have been made, including community water rationing and wastewater management...

Read more

Recent resources

H20 Journal cover thumbnail

Beyond inclusion: practical lessons on striving for gender and disability transformational changes in WASH systems in Cambodia and Timor-Leste 

This newly released paper draws lessons from Cambodia and Timor-Leste. Congratulations WaterAid!


SAT tool cover thumbnail

Towards Transformation in WASH Gender Equality and Self-Assessment Tool

This tool provides practical support to anyone working on WASH implementation or research who wants to improve GESI policy and practice.

Water for Women cover of learning resource

Making the Critical Connections between Climate Resilience & Inclusive WASH

Climate change disproportionately affects women, who often have little influence or control over resources or decisions that affect their communities.

However, women have important knowledge and capabilities as a result of this direct lived experience that are critical to problem-solving and decision-making for climate-resilient WASH.

Read how gender and social transformation and strengthening women's voices can be a powerful enabler in building resilience to climate change in the WASH sector in our recent report, developed under the Water for Women’s Learning Agenda.

Five coloured parallelograms representing the WASH-GEM Tool

Introducing the WASH-GEM

Have you heard of the WASH-GEM yet?

Do you know how it can assist practitioners and researchers to explore gender outcomes associated with WASH programs for women and men?

Water for Women partner, The University of Technology Sydney, Institute for Sustainable Futures recently developed a tool to explore the connections between gender equality and WASH. This tool is called the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Gender Equality Measure – the WASH-GEM.

Find an introduction to the WASH-GEM and all associated resources here.

A Vietnamese rural woman

The role of local-led innovations in WASH sector adaptation to climate 

"My idea came to me out of my concern for the devastating consequences of climate change in my hometown," says Ms Do Thi Dep.

Ms Dep ‘s idea to "produce organic vegetables combined with drip irrigation technology and agricultural mulch to promote sustainable livelihoods and climate change adaptation” won the first prize worth a 60 million VND grant to make her innovative idea a reality. This initiative is part of the Thrive Networks East Meets West Water for Women project.

Read more

A group of woman sit inside around a table with paper and pictures as they map how climate change hazards affect their community and women in particular.

Systems Mapping in Indonesia

The women in this photo are working together on a systems mapping activity to assess how climate change hazards may affect gender equality and social inclusion in water and sanitation services.

The University of Technology Sydney, Institute for Sustainable Futures is undertaking a study on how climate change affects gender equality and social inclusion in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in Manggarai in partnership with Yayasan Plan International Indonesia and Plan International Australia.


Photo: Systems Mapping in Indonesia (Tamara Megaw, UTS-ISF)

Blue and orange graphic promoting the GESI self-assessment tool webinar

Register now 

Co-hosted by Water for Women and the Sanitation Learning Hub, this event will introduce the Towards Transformation in WASH GESI self-assessment tool. A guide for reflecting on your practice to strengthen GESI in WASH programming and research, as well as in your organisation.

Contact Us