AQUASTAT - FAO's Global Information System on Water and Agriculture

    Case study

    This page offers a variety of documents on AQUASTAT's case study that was conducted in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco on the role of women in water resources management in general and in agricultural water management in particular.

    The initial study aimed to develop gender-sensitive indicators and to integrate them in the AQUASTAT Main Database.

    This page contains three sections after this introduction: (i) the reports published in the framework of this case study, (ii) gender-sensitive indicators that have been proposed in this study, (iii) a questionnaire for data collection, based on the experience of this study.

    The purpose of this page is to present the approach that was made in order to explore the possibilities to integrate gender issues in agricultural water management and to create indicators in this respect, because the availability of quantitative and qualitative data disaggregated by gender is essential to achieve a better understanding of agricultural water management at sub-national, national, regional and global level.

    Lack of statistical data disaggregated by gender has long been an obstacle to the development of actions aimed at equal opportunities between men and women, which is necessary for sustainable development. The importance of these data has often been emphasized by governments and development agencies. First, "gender" statistics are a way to track progress in promoting women's rights and gender equity. The disaggregation of statistics by gender also helps to better identify the specific situations of certain groups of individuals, both in terms of their living conditions and in terms of their economic and social status. Finally, another advantage of data disaggregated by gender is that they make a continuous improvement of the statistical tool possible, in terms of topics covered, of statistical categories used, as well as of information collection methods developed.

    Thus, the interest of "gender" statistics not only lies in the breakdown by gender of data produced. The aim of each development policy is to improve the lives of people, particularly those who are least advantaged. In this context, it is important to have social indicators to assess progress towards the achievement of this objective. Beyond a description of the respective situations of men and women, statistics disaggregated by gender must allow the construction of indicators and tools to assess changes that characterize these situations. It is in this context that AQUASTAT develops and elaborated its "Water and gender" page and encourages the continuation of similar initiatives.


    The two reports below were published as being exploratory studies on gender issues in agricultural water resources management in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.

    The first working paper is entitled "The role of women in water resources management in general and in agricultural water management in particular", also called "Phase 1". This report provides the results of the pilot project conducted in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco and is divided into three sections: the first section analyses existing statistics and documents and field surveys, the second presents the national reports prepared by the three countries, the last section presents the reports of meetings and workshops organized on the role of women in the irrigation sector in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East.

    • Phase 1: The role of women in water resources management in general and in agricultural water management in particular. Case study 2014 (french)

    The second working paper is entitled "The role of women in agricultural water resources management - Phase 2". This report provides the results of the follow-up project to "Phase 1", but has only been conducted in Algeria and Tunisia. First, the report identifies the institutional actors involved in agricultural water management issues and collection of sex-disaggregated data at the national level. Next, the report provides the reflection made on the integration of a gender component in agricultural water statistics, the limits of this desire of integration and at the end offers recommendations to reduce the gaps in this regard.

    • The role of women in agricultural water resources management - Phase 2: Follow-up to the project "Phase 1". Case study 2016 (french)

    Proposal of indicators

    This section contains the proposals of gender-sensitive indicators, related to water management and more specifically agricultural water. The proposed indicators reflect the following themes: access to the resources, improvement of working conditions, improvement of socioeconomic conditions of women, capacity enhancement, and empowerment.

    The purpose of these proposals is not only to identify the indicators relevant for the AQUASTAT Main Database, but also to develop a methodology that can help later to deepen, broaden and identify other interesting indicators with regards to the themes presented below.

    Key indicators to disaggregate by gender, from the national statistics

    • Heads of holdings in the irrigation sector
    • Family labour in the irrigation sector
    • Permanent paid labour in the irrigation sector
    • Seasonal paid labour in the irrigation sector
    • Working days devoted to irrigated agriculture
    • Owners of land in irrigation zones
    • Level of education by sector (rural/urban)
    • Workforce in the irrigation sector by level of education
    • Engineers and technicians in agricultural water management
    • Extension workers (particularly in the irrigation sector)
    • Access to training and extension programmes on irrigated crops (number of training and awareness raising days)
    • Participation in administrative structures in charge of water management
    • Members of irrigation associations

    Other gender-sensitive indicators proposed and comments

    • Indicators on access to drinking water:

      • Connection rate of rural households to a piped water network;
      • Effective access to drinking water, water fetching responsibility, responsibility for drinking water supply.
    • Indicators on economic contribution to irrigated agriculture:

      • Remuneration of paid labour (difference in salary).
    • Indicators on the participation in technical tasks related to irrigation:

      • Implementation of works linked to: planning, irrigation, irrigation techniques, installation of irrigation equipment, maintenance of irrigated crops – fertigation, maintenance of the equipment, strategic decisions (investment, crop choice, equipment).
    • Indicators on access to economic resources:

      • Average size of managed irrigated farms;
      • Promotors of projects in the irrigation sector, access to credit for the development of irrigated agriculture (indicators to develop starting from information on the access to subsidies and other incentive measures for the development of irrigated agriculture, in view of the dispersion of information).
    • Competency indicators:

      • Graduates of agricultural education (secondary, technical and higher), number of qualification certificates delivered*;
      • Mastery of the technical aspects of irrigated agriculture.
    • Indicators on access to information:

      • Equipment available in rural households with regards to audio-visual media, information sources on irrigated agriculture (implications of technical mastery, risk, etc.), number of radio emissions (time spent) intended for women and devoted to the irrigated agriculture.
    • Indicators on participation in water governance:

      • Participation in outreach meetings related to irrigation development;
      • Responsibles of irrigation associations, number of water users associations linked to agricultural water.
    • Indicators related to the water resources (water quantity and quality):

      • Perception (by women and by men) of the role plaid by the women in the preservation of the resource, knowledge of the resource (functioning of the hydraulic systems, overexploitation of the resource), water saving practices (choice of the technology, recycling, reuse), perception et practices related to water quality (use of water from wadis), risk perception, degree of sensitivity to the availability/value of water (relatively difficult to measure).

    Indicators added in the AQUASTAT Main Database

    Based on this case study, as well as on the world census reports and the assessment of national data obtained from Eurostat, two new indicators have been added to the Main Database under the category "Irrigation and drainage development":

    • Percentage of the area equipped for irrigation managed by women
    • Percentage of the agricultural holdings with irrigation managed by women

    "Water and gender" questionnaire

    In this section the questionnaire can be found that was prepared, based on the questionnaire used in the field within the framework of the pilot project "Phase 1". The questionnaire is intended for agricultural holdings with an irrigation system and the aim is to collect gender-disaggregated data and information, with an emphasis on agricultural water.

    The purpose of the questionnaire is primarily to investigate the role of women and men in the management of agricultural water so as to finally test a methodological tool that could be used by the statistical services and development institutions for the elaboration of gender-sensitive indicators.

    Specific topics of the questionnaire are:

    • Characteristics of the agricultural holdings and households
    • Domestic water management
    • Agricultural water management and division of labour by gender
    • Decision-making within the family (choice of crops and techniques)
    • Access to training and information related to irrigation
    • Access to credit and to development projects
    • Membership organization for water management
    • Perception of problems related to domestic and agricultural water (quantity, quality, management)

    The questionnaire below is an edited version of the original questionnaire that was developed and used as part of the pilot project "Phase 1". Changes have been made since the objective of the original questionnaire was to focus only on women farm managers or family labour (wives or daughters) who are in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. This edited version would be useful to interview both women and men in multiple countries.