Dr. Eva Rathgeber from Canada was elected the new Chairperson of the Gender and Water Alliance (GWA) early August 2009. In her welcoming address she reflected on the very active and successful first decade of GWA with the focus on networking; the generation and sharing of knowledge, information and tools on gender mainstreaming policies; training and development of gender mainstreaming capacity among targeted groups; regional and national policy-related initiatives and international conferences and events. The last 5 years saw a quadrupling of the membership. Although GWA’s primary objective of bringing a gender perspective into water resource management still needs concerted attention, For the next period GWA looks forward to tackling some of the new challenges that are facing the water sector. These include the impact of climate change, the primacy of food security in face of new uses for water such as in the cultivation of bio-fuels, and the increased demand for transparency and accountability in water resource development and management.
Dr Rathgeber (b. 1948) is a consultant in international development. From 2002-2006 she held the Joint Chair of Women’s Studies at the University of Ottawa/ Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. She spent many years with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), starting as a program officer in science and technology and later became founder and director of IDRC’s Gender and Development Program. From 1992-2001, she served as IDRC Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, based in Nairobi, Kenya. She is a past president of the Canadian Association for International Development and has served on the boards of numerous environmental and information communications technology NGOs. She has published widely on science and technology policy, knowledge production, gender and development, and gender and natural resource management, including water management. She has served on the Gender Institutions and Participation panel of the CGIAR Water Challenge Program.