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BMGF | Case Studies in Gender Integration: Market-based solutions in Cambodia

From the case study


Gender matters across the sanitation value chain. It influences user behaviors and levels of participation and performance in the sanitation sector, as well as uptake of sanitation product and service design. To fully understand the role gender plays in sanitation, it is important to look beyond just biological (i.e., sex) differences and consider how cultural practices, beliefs, and norms related to gender and sanitation affect men and women.

Lack of awareness about gender differences and inequalities can create barriers to effective sanitation programming. Effectively integrating a gender lens in sanitation programming, on the other hand, can reveal important differences and inequalities. It can also support more tailored approaches to ensuring sanitation outcomes are achieved for all and that gender inequalities are not perpetuated.

The interplay of gender and sanitation is bidirectional: sanitation programs can be leveraged to improve gender equality and promote women’s empowerment, and gender inequality can be addressed as a way of improving sanitation outcomes. These do not need to be in conflict with one another, and can in fact lead to improved outcomes in both dimensions. However, gender integration must be intentional in order for this synergic effect to occur.

This case study in gender and sanitation is part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Gender Equality Toolbox, which includes a series of case studies and other resources for supporting Program Officers in applying a gender lens to their investments. Note that not all of these case studies are foundation-funded programs and a program’s inclusion in this series does not indicate an endorsement by the foundation.

The case studies are intended to offer readers an opportunity to unpack and understand the role of gender differences in driving sanitation outcomes, how programs identify and seek to address these differences, and whether the program also promotes gender equality and women’s empowerment. The cases are not meant to be perfect examples of how gender differences are identified and managed, but are meant as a learning tool intended to:

  1. Provide insight into specific areas where gender differences exist along the sanitation value chain.
  2. Showcase real programs that have intentionally worked to integrate a gender lens into their delivery, whether from the outset or as a course correction.
  3. Examine challenges and emerging lessons about integrating gender across programming and policy.

Each of the three sanitation sector cases focuses on different parts of the value chain to illustrate the many ways that gender impacts sanitation outcomes for men and women.

This case explores the role of gender in the sanitation marketplace in Cambodia.

Original link from FSG website