Access to water in equitable manner and the improved management of water are imperative to sustainable development, poverty alleviation and biodiversity preservation. Despite much research on gender and natural resources management, there have been only a handful of studies on gender and water, especially those trying to link the two with poverty issues. This paper seeks to fill this gap specifically by looking at the linkages among gender, water and poverty in terms of gender participation in irrigated agriculture and irrigation institutions. The main objective of the study is to examine gender participation in irrigated agriculture and irrigation institutions and to analyze the impact of irrigation projects on men and women. The study approach has been a qualitative and quantitative analysis of primary and secondary data.
Key findings reveal a considerable degree of gender inequalities, especially in terms of participation in irrigation institutions. Despite a high level of female involvement in irrigated agriculture, their participation in irrigation institutions is much lower. Furthermore, water projects with gender equality interventions have enhanced women's status in particular by raising their abilities to participate. The results suggest that the incorporation of gendersensitive policies and programs in irrigation schemes could have significant positive impacts both on gender equality and poverty.