Quota systems and women's participation: Lessons from water policy in Nepal
The incorporation of a gender perspective in a policy document reflects the desire to alter exisiting gender relations in favour of creating a gender just society. Nepalese water policy in three sectors: irrigation, drinking water and watershed/forest has adopted quota systems to include women members in users' committees. As a result, women's representation in formal bodies has become mandatory in a situation where women are socially discouraged from participating in formal decision-making bodies. Women's participation in water users' committees is not only important for addressing women's water needs but also for ensuring their access to this vital resource. These formal bodies often play a major role in larger politics and form alliances to address water issues and access other resources.