The importance of gender concern in water sector is paramount, being seen as the harbinger of greater efficiency and effectiveness as well as equity. Consequently, there has been a continuing trend of designing water management policies with emphasis ranging from promoting participation of women in management of water projects in particular to supporting “gender-balanced” development of the water sector in general. How effective have these policies been in addressing such basic concerns? What are the local water users' perceptions about effectiveness of the policies in addressing their realistic gendered needs and priorities? While “women” have received much attention, how well does the gender concern in the policies integrate “men”? Do “effectiveness” and “equity” as underlying policy goals reflect the water users' perceptions as well? The paper attempts to evaluate the existing policies within the context of local communities where these are operational and proposes “facilitation of gender role performance” as a suitable policy alternative.

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