Title: Gender relations and water management in different eco-cultural contexts in Northern Thailand

Authors: Louis Lebel; Phimphakan Lebel; Patcharawalai Sriyasak; Songphonsak Ratanawilailak; Ram C. Bastakoti; Geeta B. Bastakoti

Addresses: Unit for Social and Environmental Research, Faculty of Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand ' Unit for Social and Environmental Research, Faculty of Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand ' Unit for Social and Environmental Research, Faculty of Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand ' Unit for Social and Environmental Research, Faculty of Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand ' Unit for Social and Environmental Research, Faculty of Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand ' Unit for Social and Environmental Research, Faculty of Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

Abstract: This paper assessed water management by households from three ethnic groups in two contrasting ecological settings (upland and lowland) in the Upper Ping River Basin in Northern Thailand. Important gender differences in the use and management of water were identified. Women are major users of water for agriculture in the uplands, but less so in the lowlands. In the lowlands irrigation is viewed as a masculine activity. In the uplands the role of women is more widely accepted, with women frequently being members of water user groups. Men, however, dominate 'decision-making' positions in community-based and state-led water organisations in both upland and lowland areas. Perceptions of contributions to daily tasks, and behavioural traits important to governance roles, differed between men and women, and sometimes also across eco-cultural contexts, underlining the complexity of factors influencing gender relations in water governance.

Keywords: gender relations; agrarian change; water management; culture; urbanisation; ethnicity; eco-cultural contexts; Thailand; ethnic groups; uplands; lowlands; agriculture; irrigation; male domination; women; female participation; decision making; perceived contributions; behavioural traits; governance roles; water governance.

DOI: 10.1504/IJARGE.2015.074096

International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, 2015 Vol.11 No.3/4, pp.228 - 246

Available online: 07 Jan 2016 *

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