Abstract

The connections between gender and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) are profound, and the sector is beginning to explore the integration of gender-transformative principles into WASH programming and research. Gender-transformative approaches challenge inequalities and move beyond an instrumentalist approach to gender in development interventions. Through a critical review of academic empirical studies, this paper explores the last decade of WASH-gender literature (2008–2018). Trends were visualised using an alluvial diagram. The reviewed literature was underpinned by a diversity of disciplines, yet was dominated by women-focused, water-focused studies. Although the studies addressed many important gender considerations, few studies engaged with transformational aspects of gender equality. The majority of the studies were based in rural sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, indicating opportunity to explore contextual dynamics in other areas of the global south. Lastly, the studies primarily focus on women of productive age; only a few studies touched on gender dynamics relevant for a diversity of women, and men and boys were mostly absent. Insights from this analysis can inform future studies at the intersection of WASH and gender. Researchers and practitioners are encouraged to include a diversity of voices, reflect on the strengths and limitations of research disciplines, and incorporate gender-transformative concepts.

Graphical Abstract

Graphical Abstract
Graphical Abstract
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