The issues concerning women and their participation (or rather lack thereof) in the development process have been increasingly examined over the last few decades. The interpretation of women's roles and gender relations, especially in water supply and sanitation projects, have been marked by shifting positions and changing political priorities over the last few decades. This study contributes to the knowledge regarding issues surrounding the roles and equality of women and men in water supply and sanitation projects in the Eastern Cape Province. It provides a background to the origins and development of gender and gender mainstreaming in the developing world in relation to the changing roles and responsibilities of women in water supply and sanitation projects. The roles and responsibilities of women, men and children are closely interlinked with their cultural perceptions, the way they grow up and the way they are brought up within their cultural environment and relationships with people close to them. The key to understanding how development work affects women, men, girls and boys, is in grasping the concept of gender. The term "gender" refers to those characteristics of women and men that are socially determined. This dissertation discusses gender-awareness approaches in development projects such as water supply and sanitation and the effect these projects have had to date on the empowerment, position and roles of women. The research in the Eastern Cape Province for this study is one of only a few case studies which could be identified in South Africa. This research and the case studies illustrate that development in South Africa needs to be made gender aware and gender sensitive, and that the mainstreaming of gender in South Africa is a long way behind the rest of the developing world.
Dissertation (MA (Antropology))--University of Pretoria, 2006.